tv U.S. Senate CSPAN February 14, 2013 12:00pm-5:00pm EST
greatest challenge will be to prevent the hollowing out of our military as has occurred in the wake of past conflicts. that hollowing out is not only about hardware and weapons, it is about the people who command and the people who run those weapons. and we need to make sure that we keep those mid-level officers and enlisted that are so important to the leadership of our military and chuck hagel's leadership and commitment will be critical to that task. i have met with chuck hagel privately, i've asked him tough questions about iran and israel. i'm satisfied on those points that he will advise the president in according to with -- in accord with those policies but even more important i am struck by his passion, the intensity of his commitment to
our men and women in uniform. his caring about them is indicated in so many ways. spontaneously and strongly in his testimony, as well as his private conversations. he will make sure that sexual assault in the military, the epidemic and scourge of rape and assault against men and women who serve and sacrifice for this country will be stopped, that there will be, in fact, zero tolerance not only in word but in deed. and his viewing, for example, of the documentary "invisible war," his understanding that this kind of misconduct is an outrage never to be even implicitly condoned and to be treated as a criminal offense, the most extreme kind of
predatory criminal activity, is important to the future of our military and our men and women in uniform. he is committed to making sure that women in combat, a policy the president has implemented forcefully and flaitfully, he is -- faithfully, he is committed to make sure that the policy of repealing "don't ask, don't tell" is implemented. zealously. and vig lusly -- vig lusly. he is committed to making sure that p.s.t. not only for the returning iraq and afghanistan veterans but also for the veterans of his own generation, our vietnam veterans, who had p.s.t. at a time when it was undiagnosed and, in fact, unknown as a condition resulting from combat. he is committed to making sure that they have the benefit of
policies and practices that now we are implementing to deal with p.s.t. and traumatic brain injury. and he is committed equally importantly to making sure that the epidemic of suicides among our currently serving men and women in uniform and also our veterans is addressed forcefully. there are tragedies every day involving those suicides. families that lose loved ones and a country that loses great public servants. and chuck hagel cares about those men and women, and he will see a person in uniform not as simply an officer or enlisted man, but as someone who will soon be a veteran as part of a continuum. he has served in the v.a. as
well as now in the defense department, and he will make sure that the transition from active service to reservist service is seamless, that veterans are provided with that transition assistance that they need for employment and education and health care. and that our national guard receives the respect and service it deserves. i'm convinced that senator hagel's number-one priority will be taking care of our troops. he is a veterans' advocate with the u.s.o. and he's won the respect and admiration of veterans' groups, in addition he's won the support of an extraordinary array of former secretaries of defense,
ambassadors and diplomats, senior retired military leaders and in particular, two former members of this body who appeared with him at his testimony, former senators warren and nunn. i believe that chuck hagel is the right man for the challenges, the fiscal challenges that will confront the department of defense. put aside sequester, which i dearly hope will not happen, secretary panetta said it would be irresponsible for the congress to allow it to happen. many of us agree, it must be avoided. but apart from that challenge in the next month, or series of months, the long-term outlook for the department of defense is
that it must do more with less, and secretary hagel, if he is confirmed, will have that management task, and he is one of the people in this country who is almost uniquely qualified to carry it out. and i believe that he will with great distinction. he will take care of our men and women in uniform and strengthen our national defense, he will do what he thinks is right even if it's not popular, and he is, finally, as everyone has said, a good and decent man. i thank in particular senator mccain for his very compelling and telling comment during our
consideration before the vote in the armed services committee. he said -- and i agree -- no one should impugn chuck hagel's character. he's a person of integrity and character. and i believe that he will have the respect at all levels of our defense, men and women who serve and sacrifice every day, men and women who are essential to our national security, and i recommend and i urge my colleagues to support him. i respectfully hope that he will be confirmed quickly and that it will be done on a bipartisan basis so that we will be united as our armed services committee in this body is almost always in favor of the president's choice for this uniquely important
responsibility. thank you, madam president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i rise to mark another sad record for the united states senate. 1,387 days since the united states senate has passed a budget. 1,387 days. the last time i checked, the 2012 election is over, and, of course, it's been over for more than three months now, but, unfortunately, the president still seems to be very much in campaign mode, giving speeches all around the country. at the time -- for the time being, what we really need rather than a president on a perpetual campaign is for
democrats and republicans to work together to try to solve some of our nation's most pressing problems, and there is no more important issue than our national debt. unfortunately, the president after extracting about $600 billion in new taxes as a result of the fiscal cliff negotiation is still coming back to the well and he's calling for tens of billions of dollars of new spending at a time when we ought to be talking about bending the cost curve down, try to rein in wasteful washington spending, the president wants to spend more and he wants to raise your taxes to do it. and perhaps worst of all, we know that the promises we made to our seniors for medicare and social security are imperfectlied -- imperilled unless we act together to save
and protect social security and medicare they're on a pathway to bankruptcy and that's irresponsible and wrong. i'm tempted to describe president obama's spending and tax ideas as small ball, but they're worse than that. they represent a conscious decision to neglect some of the most pressing issues that confront our country. you might even say it's a dereliction of duty in the battle to save america. last week, the congressional budget office projected that our gross national debt will increase from $16 trillion in 2012 to $26 trillion in 2023. now, that may seem like a long way off, but just since president obama has been president, the national debt's gone up by 55%, just in the last four years.
but if you project that forward to 2023 when some of these young men and women who are working here as pages will be looking at entering the work force and looking at their futures, all they will see ahead of them is debt and a reduced standard of living. this is what lies ahead for all of us unless we embrace real spending cuts and unless we deal with the unfunded liabilities of medicare and social security. now, president obama has a secret strategy for getting our debt under control, we'd all love to hear it. his last two budget proposals failed to receive a single vote in the united states senate. that's the last two years that his budget has actually been put to a vote, no democrat voted for it and no republican, because it simply didn't address the problems that i just
described. i hope this year is different. unfortunately, the president's already missed the deadline, the statutory deadline for submitting his own budget which was february 4 but i hope when he finally gets around to sending us his proposed budget it's a serious plan for long-term debt reduction. based on experience, i can't say that i'm overly optimistic. but hope springs eternal. i guess one of the things that worries me the most is in the president's state of the union message which he so eloquently delivered just a few nights ago, he didn't say one word about his 2014 budget, not one word. i would urge the president to take a long, hard look at the new congressional budget office report. i would urge him to launch serious bipartisan budget negotiations as soon as possible
so we can avoid another last-minute cliffhanger and another 2:00 a.m. senate vote. above all, i would urge the president to take a look at a balanced budget amendment to the united states constitution that i've cosponsored along with all of my colleagues on this side of the aisle. that amendment would require the federal government to balance its budget each and every year. is that such a crazy idea? well, no, it's what every family has to do. that's what every small business has to do and that's what 49 states are required to do under their laws. this amendment to the constitution, it would be the 28th amendment to the constitution including the first ten which of course are our bill of rights, it would require a congressional supermajority to raise taxes or to raise the debt ceiling. as i said what moment ago, families roos america have to balance their budgets and, of
course, along with the budget brings the discipline of deciding what your priorities are, the things you have to have and can't live without, the things you want but have to defer and then the things maybe you'd like to have but you simply can't afford. well, this number right here, 1,387 days since the senate passed a budget, is one reason why our debt continues to go up by leaps and bounds, and there's no plan in sight to bring it under control. here's the bottom line for president obama: the 2012 election is over and now it's time to govern. it's time to move beyond the campaign rhetoric, drop the gimmicks, and work across the aisle with republicans to do what's right for the country. we're ready, willing, and able to engage with the president and our democratic colleagues to try to address these problems that confront our country.
in fact, there is no good reason for any of us to be here unless we're willing to do that. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: mr. carper: while the senator from texas is on the floor, while he knows i have affection for him, i serve with him on the finance committee, i want to ask, i appreciate senator shaheen and senator hoeven, letting me just in here for just a minute. we dwrea agree on so much. we actually do. and not just you and i but our colleagues here, democrat and republican. i think we fully acknowledge that although the deficit has come down from about $1.5 trillion to $8,950,000,000,000, it's way, way too much and we also agree one of the best ways to reduce the deficit is to strengthen and grow the economy. i believe and i think i heard the president say this the other night, three things we need to address, one,
we need to address, and the president said this, we need to address entitlement programs, not to saffage old people or to savage poor people but to figure out how to get better health care results for less money, be able to preserve those programs for the long haul. and i think we'll have an interesting proposal from senator durbin later this year with respect to social security and i think putting in a structure and a way -- or maybe a path forward on social security that makes it clear we're not trying to balance the budget on -- on social security but actually do the reforms that you know are needed and i know are needed so we'll have that program for a long haul. i think on my side of the aisle, and i think on your side of the aisle, we acknowledge the need for some revenues, whether it's on the tax expenditure side, the deductions and loopholes and so forth or finding other ways to raise revenues. the third thing, we've just come from a press conference this morning with congressman issa, congressman cummings, senator coburn and myself and -- that focused on what g.a.o., their high-risk ways for wasting money. it comes out today.
every two years they give us this high-risk list how to save money, spend our tax dollars more efficiently. we've got all that working together, those three things -- entitlement reform, some additional revenues, and actuallactually look every nookd cranny of the federal government saying how do we get better results for less money. those things we can do together. my colleague and i worked on some things together and i want to work on those three things with you. and i think if we do, a lot of colleagues will work with us. mr. cornyn: will the senator yield for a question? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: madam president, i want to tell the distinguished senator from he will dell how much i appreciate him -- from delaware how much i appreciate him and his friendship and it's again win. genuine. i guess the thing that's so maddening -- maddening -- about serving in the united states senate, is that everyone in this body, the senator from delaware, the senator from new hampshire, everyone who serves in this body understands the problems that confront our country that you so eloquently describe in terms of unfunded liabilities for medicare and social security that are on a path to bankrupt
bankruptcy, the debt and just imagine if interest rates were to go up what that would mean in terms of our ability to fund everything from safety net programs to -- to national defense. but it never seems to happen. it never seems to -- the date never seems to arrive when we actually sit down and address it. and i think this number of days without a budget is really symptomatic of the problem. but thanks to our -- our colleagues across the capitol, they -- who passed a no-budget/no-pay bill, which has now been signed by the president, unless -- unless congress passes a budget, we're not going to get paid, which is entirely appropriate and long overdue. so i would just say to my frie friend -- and he is my friend -- i appreciate your comments. i hope that some day soon that we can find a way, republicans and democrats alike -- that's the only way it's going to happen -- we can get serious about this.
but unfortunately it hasn't happened yet. i'm an optimist. i think it can happen. but it's going to require presidential leadership, and, frankly, that's one reason why i wish the president would get off the campaign trail. now that he's won. he's got now four-year term. he doesn't have to worry about running for election again. but then to work with us, because that's only way it's going to happen. so i -- i appreciate the comments and look forward to continuing to work with the senator. mr. carper: and again, my thanks to senator shaheen and senator hoeven for allowing us to have this colloquy. thank you so much. thank you, madam president. mrs. shaheen: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: madam president, i have nine unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. and i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and the requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. wha shaheen: and, madam president, i ask unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. today i rise with a heavy heart
because our nation has lost one of its outstanding citizens and many of us have lost a dear friend. charlie morgan, chief warrant officer of the new hampshire national guard, passed away early sunday morning with her wife karen and their daughter casey by her side. chief charlie morgan was just 48 years old. for those of us who had the pleasure of knowing charlie, it's been a difficult week. however, as i rise today, i take comfort in the opportunity i had to share part of charlie's life and work. many know charlie for the national attention she received over the last several years advocating on behalf of her fellow gay service members and their families. however, first and foremost, charlie was a soldier. she enlisted in the united states army in 1982. after a brief period away, charlie returned to service as a
member of the kentucky national guard in 1992, one year before the now repealed don't ask/don't tell policy became law. following the terrorist attacks of september 11, 2001, charlie returned for a third time, joining the 197th fires brigade of the new hampshire national guard, a tour that included a yearlong deployment in kuwait. in addition to the mental and emotional challenges of military service, chief warrant officer morgan shouldered the constant burden of keeping her life secret from her fellow soldiers. married to her partner, karen, in 2000, charlie was unable to live openly under the military's don't ask/don't tell policy. immediately following the repeal of don't ask/don't tell, charlie made national news as one of the first service members to publicly confirm her homosexuality and shed light on many of the remaining
inequalities faced by same-sex military families. i first met charlie in 2011. she contacted my office during her deployment in kuwait when she learned that despite the repeal of don't ask/don't tell, her partner, karen, of over ten years would not be allowed to attend mandatory national guard yellow ribbon reintegration programs upon her return. i was pleased to work with secretary panetta and the new hampshire national guard, who has been very supportive of charlie, to ensure that she and her wife karen would be able to participate in the program together. however, as -- as those of us who appreciated her determination understood, charlie was not satisfied. she continued to vigorously pursue equal benefits for same-sex spouses, particularly survivors' benefits and compensation still denied under
the defense of marriage act. and this was not an abstract issue for charlie. in 2011, she was diagnosed for a second time with breast cancer. concerned for the future well-being of her family, charlie took aim at doma by challenging its constitutionality in federal court and her case is set to be heard by the supreme court later this year. several days ago, my office sent out an on-line condolence card to the morgan family and the response from that card has just been overwhelming. in less than a week, we received over 2,000 messages of support from citizens all across our country. and i'd like to read just a couple of those this morning. from hopkinton, new hampshire, we heard, "charlie is a hero to many of us. thank you for making your lives public so others can live their lives privately in love."
from oregon, we heard, "thinking of you in this time of loss. it's also a loss for our country but she leaves a legacy that will carry on." from fulton, illinois, we heard, "thank you so much, charlie, for all you've done. you will not be forgotten and your service work and legacy will live on." those of us left behind will honor you by continuing on in this all-important fight for equality." i hope that charlie morgan knew how many lives she touched and how greatly we admired her efforts. i know that she will be sorely missed and that her example will continue to guide us well into the future. madam president, with charlie's memory in mind, i will soon be introducing the charlie morgan act. this bill will end a number of restrictions on benefits for legal spouses of all military service members and veterans, regardless of their sexual orientation. every individual that provides
for our defense deserves the peace of mind that comes with knowing one's family will be taken care of should the worst happen. no one should ever again go through what charlie and her family had to go through. i hope all of us in the senate will take up this legislation and act quickly to address this issue. it is long overdue. and, madam president, i have a longer statement that i'd like to introduce for the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. shaheen: thank you. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota dakota.mr mr. hoeven: thank you, madam president. i rise today for the purpose of a colloquy with my distinguished colleagues on the matter of the examinee stone x.l. pipeline. so i -- matter of the keystone x.l. pipeline. so i ask for 30 minutes, without objection. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. hoeven: thank you, madam president. i rise today with distinguished colleagues, both republican and democrat, on a bipartisan basis to urge approval of the keystone x.l. pipeline. joining me today will be senator mary landrieu from the great state of louisiana, she's a democrat; republican john cornyn from texas; republican john boozman from arkansas; democrat joe manchin from west virginia; john barrasso, republican from wyoming; senator mark begich from alaska, a democrat; and senator lisa murkowski, republican, also from alaska. and i emphasize that to show the bipartisan support for this critically important project. now, you may have seen -- oh, i also will have a statement from senator max baucus of montana,
who's been leading this effort with me, in his case, on the democratic side of the aisle. and he wasn't able to be here but i do have a statement from senator baucus that i'll read as well, and i appreciate very much his statement of support. you may have seen that national gas price has now risen to an average of $3.62 a gallon. so the average price for gasoline today in the united states -- and it continues to go up -- but it's up to $3.62 a gallon. now, that's the highest it's ever been in the month of february. so that's a new record. not a record we want to make either, but it's a record. the highest price for a gallon of gasoline in the united states that we've ever had in february. and if you take a look at that trend line, you'll see that it's been going up dramatically. and that price is double, at $3.62 a gallon average across the country, that is double the price of gasoline compared to
when this administration first took office. so it's a doubling of the price. and, of course, every consumer, every working american is paying that price at the pump. it affects our small businesses across the country, it affects our families across the country. every day. you may also have seen, there was a poll released yesterday. now, the poll was commissioned by a.p.i., which is american petroleum institute. the poll was conducted february 5 through february 10 by harris interactive. they polled just over a thousand registered voters and so the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%. in that poll, 69% of the respondents support construction of the keystone x.l. pipeline. 69%. 17% oppose it. so americans overwhelmingly support the project.
overwhelmingly. 69% to 17% in the most recent poll. and, of course, why wouldn't they? this is a project that provides energy to our country when we very much need it. it's a project that will provide jobs, tens of thousands of jobs. we have 7.9% unemployment. we have 12 million people out of work. here's a project that won't cost the federal government one single penny but it creates tens of thousands of high-quality private-sector jobs. it's about economic growth. this is a $7.9 billion project. the project over its life will create hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue for state and local government as well as the federal government to help with our deficit and our debt without raising taxes. more tax revenue without raising taxes. and it's also about our energy security, energy security for america. instead of bringing in oil from the middle east, this is about working with our closest friend
and ally, canada, to meet our energy needs. this pipeline will not only bring in canadian oil, however, it will also -- it also moves oil from my state of north dakota and from the state of montana to our refineries in places like texas and louisiana and other places around the country. so this is about making sure that we don't have to import oil from the middle east. and i think that's something that every american wants. that truly is an issue of national security. but it's been four and a half years since transcanada, the company that is seeking to build the keystone x.l. pipeline, it's been four and a half years since they first applied for a permit. here's is a chart that shows the route the pipeline would take. it shows that they had already built another pipeline. this is actually a second pipeline that they're seeking to build. but after four and a half years, they still don't have approval of a project that's similar to other projects that have been built. as a matter of fact, you can see we built quite a few pipelines
through the country. they go everywhere. but for some reason, this project has been held up for four and a half years when almost 70% of americans support it, we need the energy and we need the jobs. why would that be? well, yesterday, you may have also noticed in the news that actress darryl hannah and about 40 activists handcuffed themselves to the fence at the white house, and they were arrested for that, so this wrefer and they -- they were over and i guess they handcuffed themselves to the fence there. they were doing that in protest of the keystone pipeline project. and i -- maybe that's where we should be today. maybe instead of our bipartisan group of senators here in the senate arguing the merits of this project, advocating for the american people what the american people want, maybe we should be over handcuffed to the
white house fence because that seems to work. i mean, it's been four and a half years, and we still don't have a decision, we still don't have approval from the administration on this project. even though gas prices have doubled on this president's watch and even though the american people overwhelmingly support the project and even though we need the energy and we need the jobs and we don't want to be importing oil from the middle east. but that's why we're here. that's why we're here on a bipartisan basis to -- to make our case and to get this project approved, and i want to begin with recognizing a distinguished colleague and somebody who has been a real leader in the energy world and somebody who has a direct interest on behalf of his constituents in the great state of texas in this project because we need to move oil to the refineries in texas and we need
to move product, not only canadian oil but oil from north dakota, from montana and we need to get its refiners and we need to get it to our consumers, so instead of seeing this gas price continue to go up, we bring it down. i think that's what the american people want. senator cornyn, maybe you could talk for just a minute on some of the refining and jobs aspect of this multibillion-dollar project. mr. cornyn: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican whip. mr. cornyn: i just want to express my appreciation to the senator from north dakota for his leadership on this issue. he has been relentless in pursuit of this presidential permit to authorize the keystone x.l. pipeline because he recognizes, like i do, its importance in terms of jobs, energy, security and national security. it's been said that because of
the revolution in natural gas production in america as a result of directional drilling -- horizontal drilling and fracking, combined with the energy we could get from the keystone x.l. pipeline from canada, that north america could potentially be energy independent, north american energy independence in the not-too-distant future. but let me just speak briefly, because i know the senator from louisiana is scheduled to be here as well, and this is a bipartisan effort, as all successful efforts around here must be. the keystone would create an estimated 20,000 american jobs in construction and manufacturing. in my state, which still is the number-one energy-producing state in the nation, and there is no coincidence here that job growth in texas is outpacing most of the rest of the country.
i would add that north dakota is now the second largest energy producer in the country, thanks to the bakkan shale and the efforts there. the keystone would lead up to $1.16 billion of direct investment and would boost our state's economic output by an estimated $2 billion, leading -- creating not only thousands of long-lasting and well-paying jobs, it would allow texas refineries to refine up to 700 barrels of oil each day in our refineries, making that into gasoline, jet fuel, heating oil and the like. so what this would do is increase the supply at a time when, as the distinguished senator from north dakota pointed out, gas prices have gone up because of restricted refinery capacity and the worldwide price of oil, creating more supply and here in america can do nothing to help contain
those high prices. it just strikes me that this is a no-brainer. while we find ourselves engaged in armed conflicts in places like the middle east and where iran periodically threatens to block the strait of hormuz through which about 20% of the world's oil supply flows, why would we want to make ourselves less dependent on middle eastern oil? why wouldn't we want to make ourselves more independent on north american energy, and this is a no-brainer on almost every count i can think of. so let me just express my gratitude to the distinguished senator from north dakota for his relentless leadership, and i know he is not going to give up. he just keeps getting stronger. i know that in excess of 50 senators have signed a bipartisan letter to the president on this, and it's very important to our country, to
jobs, to energy independence and national security. and i see the distinguished senator from louisiana here, and i know others would like to speak to this important issue as well, so i would yield the floor. mr. hoeven: i want to thank the distinguished senator from texas. he is absolutely right. look at the economic growth and dynamism in his state of texas. look at the state of growth and dynamism in north carolina. we are the fastest growing state in the country. the senator from texas is absolutely correct. texas is the largest producer of oil. they produce about 1.1 million barrels of oil a day. we're at 750,000, growing, so we're after you, but the important point is we're producing this product, we have got to have the infrastructure to get it to market. and again, i thank the distinguished senator from texas, and i'd like to turn to the distinguished senator from louisiana. here's another state that is doing amazing things in oil and gas. they have refineries, and they
have refineries that need product, and to get that product from north dakota, montana, from our ally canada to louisiana, we need pipelines. we don't want to be shipping it in from the middle east. we want to send them our oil, and i'm very pleased that senator landrieu is here, and i would ask her for her comments. ms. landrieu: thank you. madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you, madam president. i am very proud to join in this colloquy with over eight members of the senate this afternoon to talk about this important issue and to share ideas with our other colleagues and with those listening to this debate the importance of this pipeline and the importance of getting a reliable, steady stream of oil and gas as we move to cleaner fuels in the future into our
country. it's also important, i would say to my good friend, the senator from north dakota, the importance of drilling more, particularly for natural gas, using the breathtakingly new technology that is allowing us to find both wet and dry gas, very valuable to our country, which is happening in many places in the country, to help fuel a renaissance of manufacturing. and madam president, this is not just going to help traditional oil and gas-producing states like louisiana and texas. this finding of natural gas, this breakthrough in technology enabling us to retrieve this gas in a -- not only an economically efficient way but in an environmentally sensitive way is going to be very important and impactful to many, many states
in the union and is already we're seeing companies coming back, relocating from chile, from places in europe, from places in asia, coming back to the united states because of this resurgence of gas primarily. but here we're talking about a pipeline primarily from oil coming out of sands, not the traditional deep wells where you have large deposits of oil that you drill down into but a technology that's allowing the separation of these sands to get the carbon or the oil out of them to use. now, yes, we want to move as quickly as we can away from carbon or to lessen carbon because of its damaging impacts, but there is a transition period, madam president, where we have to go through. there is no waiving of a magic
wand. there is no snapping of a finger. there is no jumping from this generation of energy production to the next overnight. even president clinton, even al gore when he was vice president talked about the transition that we have to go through. i see this pipeline as a transition. it's giving us oil from one of our closest, most dependable and friendliest of all allies, canada, as opposed to pushing us over the next five or ten years to continuing to do business with countries that do not share our values like the leadership, unfortunately, in venezuela today or the problems with countries in the northeast, even the saudis who we respect in some ways do not have the same value system as the united states. we would much rather -- at least
my constituents would much rather deal with canada and mexico. not only are they better allies, but for louisiana, we like working in canada. it's a little closer to home. we like working in mexico. and since many of these workers on these rigs and in this business come from louisiana and texas, let me be crystal clear. my colleagues that are helping on this are absolutely right. the people of louisiana would like to work in canada where the environmental protections are there, where wages are good, where there are not a lot of pirates floating around, where their workers are much less likely to be kidnapped. i mean, these are serious issues for the oil and gas industry. so that's one of the reasons that i have been urging president obama, along with many of my colleagues, to rethink his position on this pipeline. now, i guess this has been said by my colleagues, the senator i
see from west virginia is here and i'm sure he has said this before on the floor, but canada, madam president, is going to produce this oil one way or another. the question is who were they going to send it to? are they going to send it to their good friend, the united states, to our refineries in texas and louisiana, or are they going to ship it somewhere else in the world? we would like, i would like, the senator from north dakota knows this, to form a stronger partnership with canada and mexico so we can have security in north america which helps the canadian economy, it helps the mexican economy, which immediately and directly affects our whole nation, and these are our border countries. we're doing a lot of work. i don't know if the senator knows this, down in mexico, in the gulf of mexico. i just literally -- and this is a little bit afield, but i was just recently in israel and had the great opportunity to go
offshore to visit a field, the levianth field which is one of the largest fields in the world discovered in a remarkably new place which gives israel a great opportunity to think themselves about being energy independent or energy self-sufficient, which is quite exciting. but would the senator know that when i went offshore in israel, who do you think that i met offshore was my own workers from morgan city and from tibideaux. they said why are you here? i said the same reason you are. louisiana workers go everywhere. we're proud to do it, but we would be glad to be close to home, canada and mexico. our refineries which for the first time in our nation's history -- not in history, but for the first time in many years, our manufacturing base is expanding. and finally, i would just say in
this colloquy, ask the senator from north dakota, did -- has he had a conversation happen with the oil minister from canada -- i think it's minister olivier, has he talked with him at all recently? because i did have a conversation with him yesterday and i wanted to maybe share that with the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: i recently visited with the after, gary dewar, please go ahead and relate your conversation. ms. landrieu: i wanted to say i had a very good conversation with the canadian minister of natural resources. we had a long conversation, ten or 15 minutes and explained the importance of this development for canada. he also said to me what i just shared with you all, that he said senator, canada is going to develop this resource. it's just a question of who we send it to or who we share these benefits with. and so for those that are opposed to the pipeline, they don't like the direction it's going or think that there's
something that america can do to prevent this resource from being developed, that is just simply not true. so i say to the senator from west virginia, i wanted to get that on the record, i thank the senator for his leadership. but the people of louisiana strongly support the development of this pipeline. we are proud of the oil and gas industry but we also recognize that we need to make a transition to cleaner fuels, and we want to do our part and are happy with the natural gas being discovered in this nation. a senator: would the senator yield? mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank the senator from louisiana for her leadership in energy on shore and off, in a big, big way. she's absolutely right. this is our opportunity to have north american energy security, north american energy independence working with our closest friend and ally, canada. this is how we do it. mexico as well.
and she's also absolutely right, canada will produce this oil. that is a fact, that's going to happen. the question is, is it going to come to the united states or is it going to go off shore to china? that's what you see these green lines here, they show the pipelines that would take that oil to china. rather than the united states. the net effect, we continue to import oil from the middle east, and canadian oil goes to china? makes no sense, let alone the better environmental stewardship that we produce working with canada. which we'll tawch on as well but i'd like at this point to to ask the distinguished senator from arkansas, senator boozman, to join the colloquy and i would also invite senator manchin as well, and i see that senator begich is here, too. so i would invite senator boozman to make his comments,
but then also offer the opportunity for our other distinguished senators to join in the colloquy. mr. boozman: well, i thank the senator from north dakota for your leadership and, again, spearheading us, all of the senators that are here in a very bipartisan way are trying to move this project forward. you know, we talk a lot about jobs in regard to this project, but that simply cannot be overemphasized. the united states chamber of commerce, most of the largest labor unions, major labor unions, all agree that if this thing were to go forward, which it has to do, would create 250,000 jobs, 20,000 of those tomorrow, almost immediately. so, again, it's so important. it's important to my home state because many businesses, many hard-working americans living there would benefit tremendously. we have a large new core plant
in blitheville, arkansas, in mississippi county, would supply a lot of the iron that's going to be used in this. we have another facility. they make oil pipe. they've got 500 miles of this pipe sitting in storage that they've produced to go forward, which should be a great thing. the problem is instead of increasing employment for the future, right now they've had to lay off workers because of the indecision. so, you know, there's all kinds of reasons we need to get this. others have talked about national security reasons, but the labor, the good-paying jobs that would be created, again, not being dependent on places like saudi arabia and venezuela, that's a pretty good deal and we need to move forward immediately. mr. hoeven: i'd like to recognize the senator from the great state of west virginia.
mr. manchin: madam president, if i may and i want to thank all my colleagues, this is something wonderful for the people that are watching, the people that might be here to see a bipartisan colloquy that we all agree, basically energy being the crux of what we do and what this country is made up and how we got where we are today. my little state of west virginia now has a tremendous shell gas find in the marcellis shell, the shell gas we're being exposed -- exported and produced all over our country. we have an opportunity in our lifetime to become totally energy independent. so the only thing i'm saying where i come from, the people are such good people and they have a lot of common sense. and they say we'd rather buy from our friends than our enemies. how much would this displace as far as us buying and depending on areas of the world that haven't been friendly to the money that we give them from the product of oil that we sell us? do you have an idea on that, senator, if you could? mr. hoeven: i'd like to respond
to the senator from west virginia. right now between the oil we produce in the united states working together with canada and mexico, we generate about 70% of the oil that we consume. this project lien would add 6%. you're talking about over 800,000 bairlings a day this project adds -- barrels this project adds. you go from 70% just with phase one to about 76% but understand this project, this pipeline is expandable to a million four millions a day so you can see it would take us up even higher. you're talking about a significant contribution to our oil supply, again, from north dakota, montana, and canada versus as you say, countries like venezuela or from the middle east. mr. manchin: my other question would be this: since we have 12340rs from two of our greatest producing areas and knowing that there are challenges we've had in louisiana and the gulf coast with the b.p. oil spill, also a lot of concern about the
environmental, and that's why it's been held up. i understand our friend, governor dave heineman from nebraska now has approved and that was i understood the last concern that we might have had. and i've always said this, and i ask the question, i will ask again to my senator from alaska, they have one of the harsh epps climates and the largest dependent oil producers for our country and you all have been able to do it in a safe atmosphere. if could you comment on what your concerns or if have you concerns on the ability to do it in a safe environmental way. mr. begich: to my friend from west virginia, we have built the largest single capital project back in the 1970's when we brought oil off the north slope. almost 800 miles through the harshest, most unpredictable climates that you could ever see. i will tell you if you went back to the stories, the articles, the sky would fall, the environment would be destroyed, the world would come to an end by us building that pipeline. you know, we're multiple decades past.
it's worked very well. there haven't been those disasters that people claimed. but on top of that, i know my friend from louisiana mentioned the environmental impact, and, you know, that it makes sense, the pipeline is the safest way to move oil but on top of that, you have a choice and the senator from north dakota made it very clear, that is you get the -- to refine it in china or the u.s. i don't know about anybody here but i would bet we all agree between the environmental standards, we have a better environmental record than china does in refinery and refining of oil products. so it makes sense for us to do it here. on top of that, i know and, again, from alaska which people travel there not just for the jobs and opportunity but the beauty of alaska. we have more visitors who want to see the pipeline, to visit the pipeline. when i went down on a rafting trip you're in nowhere land. unbelievable beauty but one of
the last things you see when you come down and land your raft to get out and get packed up back home, there's the pipeline going right across the goal cana. and hasn't damaged the environment. there are more photos of people trying to get their raft underneath it so they can get the photo at the same time. so your point is a very good one. again, the governor of nebraska, they have approved it going through their state, but there's nothing like alaska when it comes to the harsh environments you got to build in and we did it and we did it when technology was much different. today, the standards are even greater. so, again, i just want to echo your point if i can make one other last point. this is unique. the chamber and labor working together for the common good of this country and the jobs and the groups. you think of the teamsters and the operating engineers, the pipeline contractors, the plumbers and pipe fitters, they're all part of this
agreement to build this pipeline, and train workers which is you all know here, huge gap in our trades. so we get to utilize a training opportunity, employ thousands of people not only for today but for the future. so from alaska's per expectative, we like it, we know pipelines, we know that you got to build it, big ones as we did, and the fact is as the senator from north dakota said they're going to move this oil one way or another. and do we get a choice, do we put it through our country, get the jobs attached to it, refine it in the states with great quality refineries or do we let china do it? this is a no-brainer from my state. mr. manchin: one quick question for the senator from north dakota. there might be a fallacy thinking only the i'm would move would be the oil from canada. how much oil would we move from the united states and that we produce in the united states that's captive that's not being
refined maybe down in louisiana or texas? would this help united states production? mr. hoeven: i appreciate the question from the senator from west virginia. for start perks we'll put 100,000 barrels a day. this is for starters into the pipeline. day one it's 100,000 barrels. mr. manchin: that's from north dakota? mr. hoeven: north dakota and montana. but it's very important to understand that's just when we start. the pipeline is expandable and today north dakota's the second largest producer of oil in the nation. second only to texas. we produce $750,000 barrels a day and it's growing, and more of our oil is leaving if state by truck and rail than by pipelines. this project alone will take 500 trucks a day off our roads which are beating up our roads and create safety issues in our state. this is vital infrastructure we need to get this product to refineries in louisiana and
texas and illinois, and other points around the country. and at this point i would welcome -- i want to thank the senator from louisiana again for her participation in this colloquy, and i want also to turn to the esteemed senator from wyoming, another major energy producing state, senator barrasso, and ask him for his thoughts in regard to the regulatory obstacles to energy development. with if we're going to be energy independent in this nation, we have got to find a way to empower private investment and empower the kind of development we're talking about not only infrastructure, but the new technologies that will help us produce more energy in our country with better environmental stewardship. that's what we seek to do and i know that's exactly what senator barrasso is working on in his state and i would like him to address that aspect. mr. barrasso: madam president, if i may, just to join in this
discussion, it is wonderful to see the bipartisan nature of this discussion, to turn and look around the floor of this chamber and to see three democrat senators talking to this issue and three republican senators here talking to the same issue, agreeing because all of us like minded in the fact when we think of energy, and the keystone x.l. pipeline is a big part of that, we think of energy security for our nation which is part of this, economic growth, and environmental stewardship. and we just heard from the one alaskan senator, the other alaskan senator will speak shortly. we hear what a wonderful job people continue to do in one of the most pristine areas of the country. the state of alaska. and i will tell you as a senator from wyoming, really an energy capital of this nation, that energy is a big part of our economy but so is tourism. and if we did things that did not focus on environmental stewardship for our own state,
for our own state, it would impact our tourism. energy is a big part of the economy so we want to have economic growth, energy security as well as environmental stewardship. but i will tell you, madam president, it's been a difficult task based on some of the regulatory obstacles to energy development. the president likes to talk about how he supports all of the above american energy development, but, in fact, he has -- we heard him the other night in the state of the union address, but really his actions over the past four years tell a completely different story. instead of making it easier for our own country to produce energy, i believe he's made it harder. you look at the folks who are leaving his administration, the e.p.a.'s director, lisa jackson, she said the e.p.a.'s role is interestingly -- quote -- "to level the playing field against fossil fuels." secretary chu who is leaving the administration, said he must -- quote -- "boost the price of
gasoline to the levels in europe." and secretary salazar who is leaving continues to talk about the fact that the energy strategy showed good results but they have restricted access to federal offshore and onshore oil and gas resources through moratoriums, through blocking permits, through leasing plans, they denied americans billions in public revenue and thousands of jobs. so i stand here saying that the keystone x.l. pipeline is a perfect example of the obama administration's pattern of delaying good projects by requiring excessive red tape. so i come here with you, the senator from north dakota and the senator from alaska, and look to you, the senator from north dakota, and thank you for your leadership, for your determination forks your, for yr fortitude, for you fighting to make sure that we as a country continue on our drive for american energy security. and that's exactly what we're going to have with this
proposal. and i call on the administration today, the president as well as the new secretary of state, to approve the keystone x.l. pipeline, to allow that energy, which is either coming here to the united states or going to china or elsewhere, to approve it to come to the united states, to help our production, to help our consumers, to help our jobs in this country. those are the things that are important as we try to focus on energy security for our nation, economic growth for our nation, as well as environmental stewardship. so i thank you, the chairman -- the senator from north dakota, for your leadership. and i see now the ranking member of the energy committee who is here with us as well, who has done a masterful job with a -- a vision energy 2020. and for people that haven't seen it, i would say that they are missing something if they haven't really read through from the senator from -- from alaska because she has focused like a laser on these three e's on
energy security, economic growth, and environmental stewardship. so -- so thank you for the leadership, both the senator from north dakota and the senator from alaska, and ranking member of the energy committee. mr. hoeven: thank you. i appreciate the senator from wyoming being here and for his leadership on energy. and, again, i want to recognize that he comes from an energy producing state, a state that's producing energy for this nation and creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs in doing so and also for his leadership on the energy committee as well. i want to turn to and recognize the senator from alaska, who is the ranking member on our energy committee. as the senator from wyoming said, she has recently put out a blueprint for energy development, energy independence, energy security for our nation. it is comprehensive. it includes all types of energy.
and, again, developing -- developing them the right way, with good environmental stewardship and the latest technologies. but truly something that the people of this country very much want and that is energy security. so at this point, i would turn to the senator from alaska and ask for some of her comments on this keystone pipeline project in terms of the economic benefits and the need for our nation to truly have energy security. ms. murkowski: well, to my colleague from north dakota, thank you. thank you for your leadership on not only how we can get the keystone pipeline moving, how we can ensure that a resource from our friend and ally, canada, can be utilized, can help us here in this country to truly gain that level of energy security that we've been talking about. several good comments about the
report that i released last week, my energy 2020. just happen to have a copy of it here on the floor. but out of 115 pages, i can distill it in one simple bumper sticker and that is -- energy is good. energy is necessary. if you look at the cover of -- of the report here, it's essentially a -- a map of the world, from -- from way up high. and when you're looking down and you see the lights at night, you can tell the prosperous places within the world. it's where the lights are on, it's where our energy is. and so when we talk about energy, i think it's important to really put it in the context of how important, how significant it is to our daily lives. a couple weeks ago, or a week ago now, we were all reminded of energy when there were 34 minutes of dead time during the
super bowl. and a lot of folks paying attention to, well, where -- where do we get our energy sources from? it starts a good conversation, a necessary conversation. and in -- in -- in my document, i focus on five different areas when we need to talk about energy policy. and i'm looking for an energy policy that is -- is abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure. and when we talk about the fifth one, the security, this is where the ski ston keystone x.l. projy comes in to play. when we're talking about security, that doesn't necessarily mean that everything that we want as a nation is going to be produced right here within our own borders. what it means is how we reduce vulnerabilities from others, how we can eliminate our reliance on opec. and, ladies and gentlemen, this is a reality, this is doable,
this is possible by 2020. this is not some pie-in-the-sky. let me just give you some numbers here. in 2011, canada produced roughly 2.9 million barrels of crude oil per day. mexico produced 2.6 million. when you add this to the approximately 6 million barrels that the u.s. produces each day, total north american productio production -- which is 11.5 million barrels -- is far greater than the nation's net imports, from is 8.5 million barrels back last year, more than double the imports from opec. more than double the imports from opec. so if we can do more within our own borders here and ensure that we are able to rely on our friends to the north, the canadians, and our friends to the south, the mexicans, we can displace, we can fully displace our reliance on opec imports by
the year 2020. but part of this -- this -- achieving this goal is being able to count on the keystone x.l. pipeline. it is as simple as that. it's about security. it is about ensuring that we've got a supply that not only helps us achieve that energy security but it allows us to achieve economic security insofar as the jobs that are created, the -- the -- really the ripple effect that goes out. it's not just constructing one pipeline, it's the ripple effect that comes from this boom of opportunity within our country. so it's jobs and economic security. it is energy security from the perspective of reducing our reliance on those countries that
we don't necessarily like, removing ourselves from the need to import opec oil, and having the ability to control our destiny from a perspective of -- of abundance rather than from scarcity. we should look to our friends and neighbors. we should work with the canadians. the president should sign the x. -- the keystone x.l. pipeline bill into law. he should make it happen. we shouldn't be waiting any longer, for all the reasons that so many on this floor have discussed this afternoon. so to my friend, the senator from north dakota, thank you for your leadership here. let's make this happen now. thank you. mr. hoeven: i'd like to thank the senator from alaska again for being here today talking about the importance of moving forward with the keystone x.l. pipeline project and, again, for
her leadership on energy issues. she is our ranking member on energy and i think no matter who you talk to, she is absolutely inclusive when she talks about energy development, all aspects. the energy development, the environmental stewardship, the jobs, developing all types of energy, and she brings tremendous knowledge and experience to energy issues. and so i would urge the administration to listen to one of the leading voices in energy in our country and that's senator murkowski and ask them to approve this project. the senior senator from montana couldn't be here today but did ask that i express his strong support for the keystone x.l. project, senator max baucus from montana. my friend from montana has said over and over again that the same thing t that all of us know
and that is that keystone is about problems and that every day we delay the keystone pipeline is another day we delay creating american jobs. and so i want to thank not only senator baucus but all of the senators who have joined us here today. again, senator landrieu from louisiana; senator cornyn from texas; senator boozman from arkansas; senator manchin from west virginia; senator barrasso from wyoming; senator begich from alaska; and as you've just heard, senator murkowski from alaska. we've made the environmental case. the environmental case is stronger with the pipeline project than without it. every single state on the route is supporting the project. and i think, as senator murkowski so well concluded for us, it is about energy, it is about jobs, it is about tax revenue that we need to close the deficit and address the debt without raising taxes.
it is about energy independence and energy security from this country so we do not continue to import oil from the middle east or from places like venezuela but, rather, we get it from our closest friend and ally, canada, as well as from states like my own state and from montana. and we refine it in our refineries and provide it to our hardworking citizens across the country. so instead of having record highs in the price of gasoline, which we have today -- the highest price that we've ever had at this point in february, $3.62 a gallon -- we start moving energy costs down for our consumers to create a more robust economy and to ease the cost or to ease the pain at the pump for our hardworking americans. with that, i just want to close with, you know, there will be another rally or a demonstrati demonstration -- of demonstrators around the white house this weekend. i think it's scheduled for sunday. now, i don't know if they're going to handcuff themselves to the fence like actress darryl
hannah did the other day or what they're going to do, but the simple point is this. i just gave the information from a poll that was conducted february 5 through february 10, a thousand voters were contacted in that poll by a.p.i. it was commissioned by a.p.i., conducted by the harris interactive. a thousand voters contacted. 69% support construction of the keystone x.l. pipeline. 17% opposed. so here's a project that on the facts is something that needs to happen, we need approval of this project on the facts as we've gone through and cited in great detail. but this is a project that the american people support 69% to 17%. so my question for the administration is: is this decision going to be made on the facts and what the american people want?
or is this going to be made on the basis of special interest groups that may demonstrate from time to time around the white house? and i believe the decision needs to be made for the american people to approve the keystone x.l. pipeline project. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise today as a physician who practiced medicine in wyoming for more than 25 years, and i rise to continue the debate that we've been having in this body about the president's health care law. although there's been significant debate and discussion, what i've continued to try to do is discuss some of the many ways in which this law falls short of its goals and falls way short of what the american public has asked for
when it came to the need for health care reform. the obama administration continues to put significant effort in to trying to sell its health care law and tries to convince people that it is the answer to all of their problems. but in the words of john adams, "facts are stubborn things." despite all the spin of this administration, the american people continue to learn the facts. the facts about just how bad this law is and how much it's going to cost them personally, in terms of finances, and personally, in terms of their own health care. that's why the president's health care law continues this day to be unworkable, unpopular, and absolutely unaffordable. now, we saw another example of this recently when one group who has previously supported the law learned more about what's in it.
back when we were debating the bill originally, labor unions around the country were among the biggest backers of the law. unions sent their lobbyists up here to press their democrat supporters to pass the law. they put out many statements saying things like, we need this health care law now. they held rallies right out in front of the capitol. we saw the same kinds of demonstrations last spring when the supreme court was considering a challenge to the law. now, i went to the oral arguments and i remember one group of union members chanting "we love obamacare." well, apparently now today, mr. president, i will tell you the love is gone. according to a recent front-page article in "the wall street journal," some union leaders now say that -- quote -- "many of the law's requirements will drive up the cost for their health care plans, and they say it will make unionized workers less competitive."
republicans said that the president's plan would drive up costs for hard-working americans from the beginning. union leaders absolutely ignored our warnings and supported the law anyway. now we have been proven right and we're seeing that the buyers ' remorse is there by a lot of the law's supporters. mr. president, this was absolutely predictable. what's really interesting is the reaction. it is clear from that journal article that many union leaders are angry and disappointed. well, union leaders should be angry. the obama administration misled them into believing that their members could keep the health care plan they had. they should be angry with president obama. they were deliberately deceived when he promised repeatedly by saying health insurance costs would go down $2,500 for the average family by today. the unions are also now lobbying
the obama administration to do an end run around the law. "the wall street journal" quoted union leaders saying that they were going to push the obama administration to now subsidize their health insurance costs. now disturbing comments come from the administration, suggesting it might be willing to do just that. unions have focused their efforts on trying to get the administration to expand access to advance premium tax credits. the subsidies were intended only for people who can't get insurance through their employer. that's how it was set up. well, that means that union members who have insurance for a plan jointly run by the union and their employer are not eligible for the subsidies. the law is crystal clear. in fact, the law lays out four conditions for getting tax credit. you have to get insurance through the exchange, either a
state exchange or the federal exchange. you have to pay the premiums yourself. you must not be eligible for minimum essential coverage other than the plans offered in the individual market. and you must not be enrolled in an eligible employer-sponsored plan. those are all four. that's it. so union workers covered by their employer or by a joint plan from their employer and the union don't meet these four criteria. well, let's go back to nancy pelosi and that same us quote -- "first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it." the union bosses should have read the bill before they decided to support it. and if they had read the bill, they would have been smart to oppose it. despite the clear law, a spokesman for the treasury department told "the wall street journal" that -- quote -- "these matters are the subject of pending regulations."
amazingly, one of the lobbyists for the union said that the administration can -- quote -- "create a loophole for them through federal rule making." create a loophole for the unions. create a loophole. well, that's wrong, and the american people know it's wrong. the administration has no legal authority to expand access to health insurance subsidies under the law. this is not a matter of regulation. it is a matter of the law. it was a bad law. a bad law as it was being debated, a bad law as it was signed and it is full of unintended consequences. this particular consequence was spelled out unambiguously. last week, 31 republican senators wrote to remind the president of that fact. of course, it's not just union members who are disturbed by the law's effects on health care costs. numerous reports have pointed out that costs will continue to
rise when more of the health care law's mandates kick in next january. one study estimates that healthier people are going to see their insurance costs go up by 40% to cover the costs of insuring less-healthy people. the law's requirements on caps on medical benefits will also cause an christmas eve in premiums, so the requirements that -- an increase in premiums, so will the requirements that allow adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents' plans. last year, blue cross blue shield of california asked to raise their rates by as much as 20%. some areas could go up as much as 100%. that's on top of the rate increase of almost $3,000 that the average family has seen since president obama took office. we've got to lower the cost of health care. president obama and the democrats who voted for this piece of legislation in the house and in the senate promised that the law would do that. well, it has not done it, and it
will not do it. their plan was short on reform and long on budget tricks, on accounting gimmicks and on empty promises. the cost concerns the unions raised are absolutely legitimate. i share those concerns, and so do all of the senators on this side of the aisle. but we can't just give extra benefits to union members. the problem isn't that the law makes union health benefits more expensive. the problem is that the president's health care law makes everyone's health insurance more expensive. the answer is to control costs for everyone, not just for special interest groups with friends in the white house. we need to revisit the taxes, the fees and the other policies that drive premium increases. we need real health care reform in this country, reform that gives people the care that they need from the doctor that they choose at a lower cost. when we were debating the
president's health care law, some of us warned about the danger of writing the bill behind closed doors. actually, the president warned about the danger of writing a bill behind closed doors until he decided it's exactly what he wanted to do. so he sent his chief of staff to do just what he said would be dangerous -- write a law behind closed doors. some of us were concerned about the special deals for certain groups. of course, these were special deals that would harm the health care for the rest of us. president obama and democrats in congress rejected our concerns. nancy pelosi, as i said, said we need to pass the law so we can see what's in it. well, the american people now are seeing more and more what is in the law, and they do not like what they see. and now they're calling for all of us to do something about it. this is not the time, mr. president, for special interest loopholes. it's not the time to make more deals behind closed doors, and
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. i ask the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to address the senate as if in morning hour. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. another sad occasion in kansas. a week ago this past sunday, the wichita community was struck by the tragic news that randy and susie storms were killed in a fatal car accident in east wichita. randy and susie were traveling home from visiting a friend at a local hospital when randy experienced a health problem while driving which led to a devastating accident. randy and susie were very well-known and very well loved in the wichita community for more than 30 years.
their care and compassion for those in difficult circumstances shaped how they lived their lives. randy had a special gift for connecting with those who were struggling. perhaps because he knew how difficult life could be. as a teenager, randy suffered a spinal injury which forced him to live as a quadriplegic. resolved to make his faith in jesus the core of his identity and not his physical disability, randy chose to invest his life in caring for others. shortly after high school, randy began to serve on the staff of young life, a christian organization that mentors and works with young people. his position at young life was a springboard to reaching a wider wichita community. over the years, randy became a counselor and a friend to countless pastors, community leaders, young adults and everyone else who was in need of a friend. jen shindly, who served with randy for 27 years, remember that he -- quote -- "loved people well" and "loving others
was effortless for him." nanchez rain met randy while attending young life and she remembers randy as the definition of faithfulness. she said, "he was always there for anyone whenever they needed him. in short, randy storms valued every life. his wife susie was also known for her great love and for care for others. on any given day, you could find susie helping young women and teen mothers in need of encouragement and a listening ear. shawn spencer, a longtime friend of the storms, knew susie to be the person of great strength and grace. together the couple invested in the lives of many married couples, both young and old, who were facing the trials of life together. randy and susie found joy in serving together and encouraging others. the wichita community came to know the storms as the folks who would show up to your kids' sporting events, high school graduations and baptisms to
celebrate what means the most in life -- people. the storms were also known as the folks who would faithfully show up at the darkest hour to lend a helping hand or to offer comfort for those facing serious difficulties. randy and susie storms lived out the biblical teaching to love your neighbor as yourself and touch the lives of countless kansans. my heartfelt sympathies go to their two children, nick and natalie, and their two grandchildren, jack and lucy. randy and susie were two very special people who will be greatly missed by so very many. this tragedy is a somber reminder that every day is a gift and we are not promised a tomorrow. may we learn from the storms that what truly matters in life and what people around us -- are the people around us and may their example spur us to love one another more deeply. i ask my colleagues as well as all kansans to remember the storms family in their thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.
mr. moran: mr. president, thank you for the opportunity to be on the senate floor today to continue the -- the chance to tell my colleagues about the issues of entrepreneurship and the global battle for talent, the opportunity to start businesses, and the challenges we face from other countries in competing in this global economy. from our nation's earliest days, entrepreneurs have been the driving force behind u.s. economic growth and expansion. yet the state of entrepreneurship in america is not as strong as it once was. in today's global economy, an entrepreneur has more choices than ever about where to start his or her business. over the last two years, at least seven other countries have taken actions to better support and attract entrepreneurs. in the two years, the two-plus years i've been a member of the united states senate, seven countries have changed their policies, their laws, their regulations to be attractive to entrepreneurs while we have not.
this map shows those countries -- russia, singapore, australia, brazil, chile, canada and the united kingdom. i recently shared what canada was doing to attract more entrepreneurs and today i'd like to share what's happening in the united kingdom and explain why it's in our country's best interest to act quickly to retain highly skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants. much like the united states, the u.k. has a range of visa categories for immigrants with varying skills and financial resources. but in 2011, the u.k. government made changes to simplify their visa rules in order to attract more talented entrepreneurs to their country. the u.k. recently created an entirely new type of visa for what they call perspective entrepreneurs. these individuals are allowed to enter the u.k. for a set period of time to secure funding and to start the process of setting up their businesses before they begin the traditional visa process. raising capital can be one of the more challenging aspects of starting a new business, and
this visa gives entrepreneurs a running start. the u.k. has also changed its top visa category, tier 1, to be restricted to entrepreneurs, investors, and the exceptionally talented. those entrepreneurs falling within tier 1 category must have set up or taken over a british business. the initial investment in their companies can be as little as 50,000 pounds, given that certain criteria are met. by lowering the initial capital investment required, entrepreneurs can get set up and get focused on running their businesses sooner rather than just raising more money. the u.k. has also revamped its global entrepreneur program which works to encourage innovative technology businesses to relocate to the u.k. the program is aimed at specifically at foreign entrepreneurs and offers a range of support to start-ups from help in raising capital, to provide mentors, to offering networking opportunities with successful entrepreneurs. this program has helped more
than 200 entrepreneurs and early-stage technology companies get established in the united kingdom so far. and you can see from this poster, sir richard branson is helping promote this program because he knows firsthand the value of antd newership. many people -- entrepreneurship. many people today know richard bronson as the creator of virgin airways but he got his started at the young age of 16 by successfully launching a new student magazine. now, 40 years later, his investment group employs approximately 50,000 people in 34 countries and its revenues in 2011 were around $21 billion. the u.k.'s immigration minister said this about the country's recent efforts to attract more start-up companies. "entrepreneurs and investors can play a major part in our economic recovery and i want to do everything i can to ensure that britain remains as attractive -- an attractive destination for them. last year we issued far too few visas for those who wish to set up a business and invest in the u.k. and i intend to change
that." that's the immigration minister of the united kingdom speaking. and this is our competition. we in congress and the administration need to take note of this. other countries are aggressively courting entrepreneurs and those talented individuals will not sit on the sideline with their good ideas. they will go to the country that welcomes them and set up shop. a story i heard while visiting silicon valley recently illustrates this point. a large company that was a few years ago a start-up itself had plans to hire 68 highly skilled immigrants but could not get visas to work in the u.s. rather than letting the talent go, the company hired them but in a different country. while it's troubling to me whee lost 68 jobs because there was no visa for them, we lost those jobs here in the united states and the visa program didn't work to attract and retain them, what troubles me even more than that is that we know that someone and maybe several of those 68 people hired will go on
to start a business that may result in significant job creation. those are jobs that could have been created in the united states but now will be created in another country. there is a global battle for entrepreneurial talent and the united states is falling behind. when we lose those entrepreneurs wand highly skilled immigrants we lose the jobs they create. this is certainly about the entrepreneurs but it's more about the folks who they will employ, folks here in the united states who are in desperate need of employment. the legislation that led to changes in the u.k.'s visa law was drafted by alex van somersanson. alex is aware in america we had have had recent efforts to attract entrepreneurs but the barriers to entry are still higher than in the united kingdom. alex said this recently in an interview, we have beaten the american effort and that is fab
lus news for u.k. entrepreneurship. this might be good news for the united kingdom but it's not good news for americans. i want to make sure the first choice for entrepreneurs looking to start a company remains the united states of america and congress has the responsibility to make certain that happens. bipartisan effort, senator warren, senator coons, senator blunt and others have started start-up 3-0 --, 3.0,, start-up act 3.0 makes changes to the federal regulatory process to lessen government burdens on job creators, modifies the tax code to encourage business to in new businesses, seeks to accelerate the federally funded research and poferl provides new opportunities for highly educated intiewrlt immigrants to -- entrepreneurial imgrants to stay in the united states where their talents can fuel economic growth and most importantly create american
jobs. start-up act 3-0 creates a visa for those in the united states and with willingness to hire americans would be able to stay in the united states and dwroa groh their businesses. in many substances foreign born entrepreneurs have an idea and want to begin a company that will employ americans but are told their visa dpos not allow them to remain in the u.s. with few ways to stay, these entrepreneurs are forced to move and to take their business with them where they will create jobs in other countries. i want to make certain that america is the best place for entrepreneurs who want to build in america and hire americans. passing start-up 3-0 will make that happen ha by creating legal ways to employ our fellow citizens. people come from all around the world to the united states. they come to study and they come to work. they come to live in a place where they can have the freedom to pursue their dreams.
the entrepreneurs visa would allow risk takers to stay here and operate their businesses. each imgrant entrepreneur would be required to create jobs for americans and if the business was not successful, and the jobs were not created, the immigrant would have to go back to his or her own home country. while some immigrant entrepreneurs would fail, others would follow the path worn by many who came before them and succeed. entrepreneurial immigrants have long contributed to the strength of our economy by starting companies and creating jobs. i can think of the russian immigrants who were entrepreneurs to came to kansas and brought hard red winter wheat with them. what a entrepreneur that changed the face of our state. on the current fortune 500 companies more than 40% were founded by first or second generation of americans. not only are these immigrants entrepreneurial but they are also disproportionately innovative. foreign investors were named as investors or coinvestors in a quarter of all patent
applications filed in the united states in 2006. today, one of every ten americans employed,to for an imgrant owned firm. while we work in the united states to continue educating our children with the skills for the 21st century question economy and training the next generation of entrepreneurs we also need to welcome those who want to create a business here in the u.s. and employ our citizens. i believe that 80% of my colleagues here would agree with the provisions of start-up 3.0. they understand these are important for job creation for americans. and i urge my colleagues to pass what we can agree to thousand and keep working to find common ground on issues that still divide us. the longer we bate waite, the further we fall behind in the global competition for the most entrepreneurial imgrants. while the united kingdom and other countries creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs, the united states remains the land of opportunity and the birthplace of the american dream.
we need to pass start-up act 3.0 so foreign entrepreneurs can strengthen our economy so american businesses can pursue their dreams here in the united states. millions of our citizens, unfortunately, remain out of work. many of underemployed. our economy is barely growing. we can jump-start the american economy through start-up act 3.0. and the skills we need to pursue the american dream can be here in the united states and we can strengthen our economy. madam president, i note the absence of a quorum and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. cardin: mr. president, i ask consent that i may be permitted to enter into a colloquy with my colleague from maryland, senator mikulski. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: mr. president, we take this time in order to acknowledge the extraordinary accomplishments of the baltimore ravens and their victory in the super bowl xlvii, to honor the players, the coaches, the staff and the loyal fans who helped to secure the ravens' second lombardi trophy in the last 12 years as the best team in the national football league.
mr. president, i can tell you, i have been a baltimore football fan for as long as i can remember. from the days of the baltimore colts and johnny unitas and lenny moore. but i tell you, i am so proud of this team. this team has guts. no one predicted them to win the super bowl, no one. no one expected them at one point to even get to the play-offs. they not only made the play-offs but they won in spectacular fashion. they looked after each other and they worked hard. coach harbaugh brought the team together. ray lewis and his last season motivated the team. we had players who were injured during the course of the season who came back to play in the play-offs, and the team represented baltimore so well and represented, i think, the best in football.
they not only gave our city and our football fans the opportunity to come together, and i was very much impressed by how baltimore changed during super bowl week. our city was so proud of our team and so proud by the manner in which they conducted themselves on the field and off the field. they gave back to the community in so many different ways. they have helped young people they. they have helped develop healthy lifestyles. they have been role models. and i tell you something, this super bowl will be remembered for a long time to come. i think in the first half, we thought it was going to be a runaway, but the baltimore ravens have a way of making sure they keep the ratings high on tv. and it got a little bit more suspenseful, particularly when we had the blackout in the third quarter. but at the end, the ravens
prevailed, the baltimore ravens prevailed and baltimore is the championship city, and we are so proud of the accomplishments of our team. whether we're talking about ray lewis or ray rice's amazing fourth and 24 scramble to keep our play-off hopes alive, it's clear that the ravens were the most determined team in the national football league. unflappable joe flacco has established himself as a leader and one of the preeminent quarterbacks in the league. his most valuable player performance in the super bowl was a fitting capstone on an m.v.p. season and should prove once and for all that joe cool has what it takes. it has been thrilling to watch the ravens this year, to say at least, in a season during which the team called and called the -- clawed and clawed their way to some victories, the super bowl was a fitting end. the ravens came into new orleans as the underdogs against
incredible odds and they prevailed as the world champions. i applaud the team, the coaches, the managers, all that were involved, the owner. thank you for giving not just baltimore but thank you for giving football a team that everyone can admire. mr. president, i also want to acknowledge the gracious way in which our colleagues from california have handled the results of the super bowl. the 49ers were a great team, they are a great team and they played a great game and had a great season. we share a lot, baltimore and san francisco. we share a great football team, we share a bay. we call ours the chesapeake bay. they call theirs the san francisco bay. we share great seafood, and we share a love for the sport of football. i thank them for the way -- their graciousness, and i thank all involved for a great season
for the baltimore ravens. ms. mikulski: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. ms. mikulski: i want to join with senator cardin as a fellow jock to support the resolution commending the baltimore ravens. what a great season that we've had. it was thrilling, it was exciting. i have been a ravens fan since they came to baltimore, and i was an original colts fan. i was a little girl when major league football came to baltimore. it was the baltimore colts. they even had a telethon to buy tickets. imagine, you could buy season tickets to the baltimore colts for $15. one of the first things that i did when i graduated from college and had my own money was to go in with my uncle fred to be able to have tickets to go to the colts games at memorial stadium. i was watching -- remember watching tv when we had that
famous game with new york when johnny unitas tossed that winning touchdown to lenny moore and won ten seconds after the game was over. i didn't think football could ever be that exciting again, but then came this ravens season, just roaring to the finish. there it was at the bronco games. well, we all know it was denver, the mile-high city. senator udall really razzed and did some pretty uppity trash talk. but we with our usual pride and gentility weathered the storm. and i could not believe it. i thought the game was over. i was ready to kick back and call my sister when oh, wow, there goes flacco for that 70-yard toss and it was a touchdown. you know, i'm short and chunky but i was ready to do cartwheels around my condo that evening.
then on to dealing with the new england patriots, all the way up to the super bowl. and we were out there winning again, and then the lights went out in new orleans, but i tell you, even though they went out for 38 minutes in new orleans, the lights were all over in baltimore and we were purple. we were purple with pride and purple with joy. and we were so pleased that they brought us a victory, not only on the playing fields of the national football league, but you know what else they did? it created a sense of community, a sense of energy. if you came with me like to one of our great other major league institutions, johns hopkins, or you were up at the university of maryland, you would see shoulder to shoulder with the nobel prize winners that we had working in our institutions had their purple ties on or their purple shirts, and there were the
facilities managers or the nurses, even the patients. we were united. it was the -- a sense of community and it was a sense of pride, and what is it that we liked? because we did our best, we were the underdog team. not -- our football players were often looked down their nose by some of the national sportswriters, but we don't carry a chip on our shoulder. we carry our footballs across the goal line. but that's the way baltimore is. we're gritty, we're strong, we fight to the end. we'll take it all the way to the end. so i want to congratulate the ravens for creating a sense of energy, creating a sense of community. yes, winning the super bowl. they were champs, but really what they created was not only that we were champions, they were champions on their way to victory to create this sense of community. and also, a special acknowledgment to ray lewis. ray lewis has had a tough life.
it has been hard scrabble and hardtackal for him. he has faced some life challenges and he has had some dark moments, but out of that, he's reclaimed his life and in the process of reclaiming his life and giving essentially all honor to god, he has then gone on to -- to work with other young football players and people in our community about how you get your life together, how you hold your life together and how you're a winner both on and off the field. so i want to congratulate the ravens. we're really proud of them. we're glad we won the lombardi trophy for the second time in 11 years. i have a coat, a purple coat i bought for the first super bowl. some people have special occasion cocktail dresses. i have a special coat for football season. i pulled it out. i'm ready to wear it and i'm ready to wear it for victory for next season. and madam president -- mr. cardin: if i could just ask
my colleague if i could just ask consent to -- madam president, that it's my understanding that later today we may be taking up a resolution in regards to the baltimore ravens. i would ask consent that my statement -- full statement be placed in the appropriate spot in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. mikulski: me, too. madam president, i'd also while we are waiting to take up some other important legislation, i want to come to the floor also on a very important matter. what i want to talk about is sequester. sequester is a nine-letter word which would be a big hit in a scrabble game but it's a lousy word for the game of life and the functioning of our economy. sequester is a technique that we're going to use. it's washingtonspeak for makin making -- saying that we will
have across -- starting march 1, that we will have across-the-board cuts that will be devastating to our economy and to the functioning of government. i just held a hearing this morning in my full appropriations about the consequences -- in my full appropriations committee about the consequences of these cuts. madam chair, it is really scary. we're going to cut defense. it's going to have a negative impact on our readiness. and at the same time when people who are building some of the smart weapons for the future, like shipyard workers, over several thousand of them could be laid off. but, madam president, not onl only -- you know, we protect our military from these devastating cuts, but there are others who wear the uniform of the united states of america to protect us. for example, we have 57,000 border patrol guards that could
be laid off. we also have people who run our weather satellites that help provide the important information to warn for tornadoes, to warn for hurricanes, to warn for these terrible blizzards so that local government can efficiently prepare. so -- and then there's terrible cuts in the area particularly in education. what i would like -- and we need to be able to come up with $86 billion to cancel this year's -- this year's sequester. that's $86 billion -- "b" like in barbara" -- million, like mikulski. and we have less than two weeks to do that. now, as the full chair of the appropriations committee, working with our democratic leadership, our very able chair of the budget committee, senator
murray, senator baucus, the chair of the finance committee, with the other people in the senate, we've been able to come up with an alternative. what it does is have a balanced approach to both revenues and also to cuts. our proposal will reform the tax code and save $55 billion. at the same time, what we will be able to do is come up with cuts in spending. one will be $28 billion in cuts in the farm bill and then another $27 billion in defense. now, before people worry and before iran gets any funny ide ideas, or anybody who's a foe of the united states that we're going wimpy or soft, the answer's no. these cuts will not go into effect until 2015, after we've brought our troops back home
from afghanistan. and then they'll be spread out over eight years until 2021. so we won't impact readiness. and if there's a foreign predator, don't think that we're weakening ourselves. what we're doing is looking at those ways that the defense department can get rid of some of the these programs that are now dated, some of the weapons systems that are no longer as relevant as they once were as we modernize. so between the mandatory cut -- spending in the farm bill and defense, we will cut spending by $55 billion. so you take $55 billion in cuts and $55 billion in revenue and this will give us the $11 $110 billion to be able to deal with this problem. i'm really jazzed about sequester.
madam chair, i represent some of the great iconic federal agencies in the state of maryland. i have 1,000 federal employees. now, people say, "oh, we know them. aren't they those pointed-headed bureaucrats who only do heavy lifting by getting a latte in the morning?" the answer is absolutely not. let me tell you who those people are, and i'm really proud of them. they run the social security administration. they make sure the checks go out on time. they're doing all the actuarial work. they're making sure that social security is relevant, financially solvent and far more efficiently run without -- with lower overhead than an insurance company. i represent the national institutes of health. the national institutes of health, whose sole job is to find the cures of the diseases that are affecting the american
people. right this very minute we're working on the cure for alzheimer's or the cognitive stretch-out for alzheimer's. my dear dad died of that. i know the consequences. it's a terrible heartbreak for the family and i will tell you it's a budget buster when you have to turn to long-term care. and if we keep the funding going and we can have that breakthrough, if we can even find the cognitive stretch-out for three to five years of people going into nursing homes, we could cut our medicaid budget in half because 80% of the money in long -- in our medicaid budget goes paying for long-term care with people either with alzheimer's, parkinson's or lou gehrig's disease or other severe neurological impediments. we're being pound-foolish to save nickles an nickels and dim. we need a long-term solution.
and, by the way, the sequester is supposed to happen every year for nine years. it was to get us to the terrible so that we could deal not only with our debt and deficit -- yeah, we got that message. but the other message is, we've got to get america ready for the fewer. we've got t -- got to get ameria ready for the future. we've got to create jobs for today and tomorrow. that's at n.i.h. those are the people who are working. madam president, i represent three nobel prize winners that are civil servants. several nobel prize winners over at johns hopkins. and it's not that they -- they're not only proud of winning the prizes, but they want to help america win the markets. new ideas for new products that will lead to new jobs. we also have in my state the federal drug administration. i wish you could come over the there. there are 4,000 people working there.
they say, "well, all those people." yeah, all those people. and, again, they're ph.d.'s and m.d.'s, people masters degrees working to make sure -- what are they looking for? they're looking for new medical devices to help people, the new breakthrough in perhaps the next generation of pacemaker. they're taking ideas invented by the private sector, maybe a new insulin pump that will help a type 1 diabetic child have a more active life. or even new breakthroughs for neurological impairment, like for the cerebral palsy child. and they're making sure they're looking for safety and efficacy so those products can move to both clinical practice, to the marketplace and be products that we could sell to the world. there are many countries that will never afford an f.d.a. but because they're f.d.a. certified in our country, they will buy our products. aren't we proud of that? that we're going to be the country that is inventing cures
for cancer? if we only look at the "a" words -- aids, alzheimer's, autism, arthritis, just look at that. at the very time we're looking to lay off people or furlough people at n.i.h., they have just lowered the cancer rates in the united states by 12%. 12%. during the terrible fiscal cliff negotiations around new year's, i spoke to dr. francis collins, who heads that agency. we were making these announcements on how america had led the way in lowering cancer rates among its own people. isn't that a great victory? and at the same time i was telling them we could be heading into sequester or going over a fiscal cliff. madam president, these 130,000 people every day are working to help america, whether they man
weather satellites, whether they're doing the next generation of drug approval, whether they're running the social security administration, whether they're over at the national institutes of standards making sure that american products have american standards, not the chinese standard. again, so we can manufacture here and sell over there. so i think sequester's a terrible thing. as the chair of the full appropriations, i am working with our leadership to try to deal with it this year. but i also say to the other side of the aisle, let's come together, let's work with our president, let's have that grand bargain through looking at -- looking at tax reform, reviewing some of our mandatory spending on how we can get savings out of that, as well as targeted, strategic cuts.
let's get us on the right fiscal path but also let's get us on the path for innovation, for jobs today and jobs tomorrow. we wanted to continue to lead the world and we want to defend ourselves not only against foreign predators who might want to do us harm but those other three horsemen of the apocalypse that ride, like pestilence and disease. and we can do it. so let's saddle up and get the job done. madam president, i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended and the chair be singly occupied. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, i ask unanimous consent to join in a colloquy with my colleague from south carolina. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president, there seems to be a lot of back and forth and misinformation about where virginia yaws senators stand -- various senators stand on the issue of the hagel nomination, and i have a statement that i will give a few minutes about why i am opposed to senator chuck hagel to be secretary of defense. but i think it's important to make a couple of points. one is that the distinguished chairman and i were here back in 1988.
in 1988, december 16, john tower was nominated to be secretary of defense. on january 25, 1989, his confirmation hearings began. on february 2, 1989, the committee postponed confirmation vote after allegations were raised. on february 8, the committee vote was delayed again until february. february 23 it was voted out of committee, and march 10 was the time when the senate rejected the nomination by 53-47. i was there. i saw one of the worst things i've ever seen in the history of this senate the way they dragged out senator john tower, a good and decent man's reputation with allegation after allegation, autumallof which turned out to . so i'd like to inform my colleagues, this is not the first time we have had a delay in confirmation of a secretary of defense. and i'll be glad to go over what i saw, including allegations that were thrown over the
transom day after day, week after week, and they destroyed a good and decent man in senator john tower. so the allegation that somehow we are dragging this out or delaying it, i.t. not the first time -- it's not the first time in history, i will say to my dear friend, the chairman of the armed services commit. -- armed services committee. having said that there are still questions outstanding. i believe that senators have the right to have those questions answered. the senator from south carolina and i and the senator from new hampshire had a response from the president today on the question that we had. but there are other questions. but i think that during the break it's such time to get any additional questions answered, and i will vote in favor of cloture on the day we get back, and i believe my colleagues would also -- enough of my colleagues would do the same. you think this that is a sufficient period of time to get answers to outstanding
questions, and i think that senator hagel, after that period of time, deserves a cloture vote and an up-or-down vote on his nomination. i'd ask my colleague if he has -- mr. graham: yes, to the senator from arizona, we reported senator hagel out -- the nigh nomination at 5:00. i would argue that the hearing was interested. i think at times unnerving, and here it is thursday. so there are some questions asked by our colleagues that i think are legitimate, some i think are kind of creating a new standard. i am confident in the next week, unless there's some explosive bombshell that i can't quite get my hands around, that i intend to vote for cloture and against the nomination, and i'll one of -- along with senator mccain, who believes that filibustering should be a rare thing. but what we're doing here is saying, the debate time for senator hagel is not yet over,
since he just got reported out tuesday at 5:00. and put yourself in the shoes of the colleagues who are not on this committee. this has been a very controversial nominee, and i would say the reason we voted for senator kerry on the same day he got reported out of committee and he got 97 votes, is that all of us felt comfortable with the nomination. there are very uncomfortable things about this nomination, but having said that, i do believe that, unless there's something new comes out that we should proceed to a vote up or down, and i'm willing to invoke cloture, because i think, as senator mccain said, the week time period would give us a chance to answer these questions. let me just inform my colleagues that just about an hour ago there was a press report that a speech was given by senator hagel -- i can't remember the group -- but one of his aides
posted, based on his notes, what he had said the next day on a web site. and during that speech, according to this aide, senator hagel said that the state department was -- the united states state department was an extension of the israeli government. you know, things like that are unnerving, and there's at least one speech he gave that he didn't report that we think there's a copy of that we should get in the next few days. that is why i would oppose cloture today, vote for it after the recess. mr. mccain: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the senator from tennessee, who also, in my view, is one of the great protectors of the united states senate and preserving its tradition and customs, and i would ask him if he has a view on this issue. i want to repeat, i would vote for cloture, the senator from south carolina would vote for cloture, and i would be interested in the view of the senator from tennessee on this
whole issue. mr. alexander: i thank the senator from arizona. probably the best-known function of the united states senate, constitutional responsibility, is the right of advise and consent. we take it very seriously, here, and that means we have to consider what happens. the armed services committee, on which i don't have a chance to serve, has completed its consideration of senator hagel's nomination two days ago -- two days ago. and now it's before the whole body. he is the president's appointee. the president has a right to appoint people in whom he has confidence. but we have a constitutional responsibility to consider the nominee. a number of the republican senators have questions, including the senator from arizona, the senator from south carolina, that they would like to have answered. i think they're entitled -- i think they're entitled to that. and the i think if the shoe were on the other foot and it were a republican president making a
nomination, i think democratic senators would say the same thing; give us a reasonable amount of time to consider this nomination on the floor of the senate. i have a little experience in that myself. the first president bush nominated me to be united states education secretary about 20 years ago. i thought i was a fairly noncontroversial nominee, much less -- much less important than the secretary of defense, but i remember very well it was 87 days between the time the president announced my nomination and the day on which the senate unanimously confirmed me. there was a senator from ohio named metzenbaum at the time who, for whatever reason, decided that the senate needed more delay to consider my record and my background. so there's nothing new about this. i would respectfully suggest that the majority leader's motion to cut off debate on senator hagel made two days
after his nomination comes to the floor of the senate is premature. republican senators have questions that they would like to have answered. i think they are eentitled to do that. when we come back from recess 10 days from now, i think that is sufficient time to consider those questions. and i will vote for cloture so that we can have an up-or-down vote on the president's nominee for secretary of defense. i think presidents are entitled to that, but not prematurely. so i thank the chair, and i thank the senator from arizona for yielding time to meevment. mr. mccain: madam president, i note that the present occupant of the chair is familiar with the riggers of this process -- with the rig orors of this procs as well. again, it is foreign note. again, i want to say that it is one thing to support or oppose 00 nominee. but i don' i don't believe a noe deserves a dragged-out process.
i think the senator from tennessee and from massachusetts would gray that it might be a disincentive in the future for wail-qualified men and women who want to serve who see a process that is dragged out and allegations made and requirements for disclosure that frankly is not required. i note the presence of the majority leader on the floor and so i'd like to filibuster for an hour or so. i yield to the majority leader. mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: at the request of the republicans, i am going to ask consent that at 4:15 today, the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the hagel nomination and that the time until 4:15 be equally divided between the two leaders or her designees. my designee is senator levin. the presiding officer: is there objection to the motion?
mr. levin: reserving the right to object -- and i will not object because of the assurances of my three friends on the other side of the aisle that they plan on voting for cloture. they obviously said they will not vote for cloture today, which is, i think, too bad because there's been more than enough time in the last two days to read the additional speeches that have been coming in. the only argument that was raised beyond that that i know of is -- has to do with the payment from an equity fund that was received. it's been fully explained. it is a highly reputable fund that senator hagel was an advisor to, like many other very reputable people. so i think that the continuation of what amounts to a filibuster, since 60 votes are required to end debate, is too bad when there is a secretary of defense who is leaving to go back to california and we very much need to have our new secretary of defense in place, given the
circumstances in this world. we have a budget crisis in this country, where a sequester is confronting us. that sequester will have a damaging effect on the defense department, on the men and women in uniformituniform and on the e equipment, the training they need to be ready for any kind of a contingency. so the delay in having a vote on cloture to me is a mistake and we ought to approve the ending of debate today so we can get on with the confirmation vote, which will be a majority vote. after there is a cloture vote, and debate is finally ended in this body, the final passage of a bill or the vote on the nominee is a majority vote, not 60 votes. so i'm hoping that there will be 60 votes today, so that we can get on with the approval of this nominee, hopefully, shortly thereafter and fill this spot, which is sitting there, waiting to be filled. we got north korea attack ago --
not attacking, im but north kora exploding a nuclear device. we've got a war going on in afghanistan. we've got to have a secretary of defense in place. so i hope there is not a delay following the vote today. i hope that we do invoke cloture base think there's been more than adequate time. there's been time on the floor when we've had hour after hour go by with no one seeking to speak. so i do hope if the unanimous consent proposal is agreed to that there will be 60 votes today. but if not, then there will be no alternative but to have the vote when we come back. and at that point we would of course look forward to the support -- at least on cloture -- of the three senators that have just spoken, our friends on the other side of the aisle. and that's the best we can hope for. but that is my hope, and i will not object because of that.
mr. mccain: madam president, reserving the right to object -- and i will not object -- the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i will just respond to my friend -- and he is my dear friend. i didn't note that sense of urgency for three months when john tower's nomination was held in limbo by the then majority of democrats. the secretary of defense post was vacant at that time as well. so this is not the first time in history that a secretary of defense's position has been vacant. the and, again, i hope that we can get this resolved, moved forward, and i think that the senator from michigan and my friend understands that we can get this issue resolved on the day that we return from the recess. certainly there is, i believe, sufficient votes to invoke cloture at that time. mr. levin: madam president, if the senator -- the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: if the senator from
arizona would yield for a minute -- and he is my dear friend -- i don't believe that senator tower was filibustered. there was a delay in et going to that vote. but i don't believe there was a requirement that there be -- and i may be wrong on this -- but i don't believe there was a filibuster of a defense secretary -- secretary of defense nominee at that time. many secretaries of defense have been approved in a matter, i believe, of days, just the way senator kerry was approved in a matter of days. so circumstances differ from nominee to nominee, and i again will not object based on the statements which we've heard today from my friends on the other side of the aisle, their comments. the presiding officer: the? er from arizona. mr. mccain: i always enjoy some exchanges with my friend, the chairman. but the fact is, as the chairman knows, that it was delayed and delayed and delayed. a new allegation came in, it was delayed. a new allegation came in, it was delayed. all of those allegations turned out to be false. but i won't rewrite history anymore except to say that it
was one of the more shameful chapters, in my view, in the history of the united states senate. and, again, i thank him. but i am confident that within a week or so we will probably have this vote completed. and i do not object to the unanimous consent agreement. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. mccain: how much time will be now on either side? the presiding officer: 30 minutes on either side. mr. mccain: 30 minutes on either side. i'd like to yield myself ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: for all the years that i've none senator hagel, i've known him to be an honorable man and a patriot within this chamber, elsewhere in government and overseas on the field of battle. senator hagel has served this country faithfully and with distinction. we have our differences. senator hagel was and remains my
friend. and there was a time when senator hagel and i saw the world and america's role in it in which the same way. when balkans were torn apart with mass atrocities and genocide, senator hagel and i stood together with senators bob dole and joe lieberman to lend bipartisan support to president clinton in taking more forceful action to end the slaughter. in may 1999, senator hagel said on this very floor, "why the united states should intervene militarily in kosovo, quote, but we also understand there are things worth going to war for, there are things worth dying for when people are being slaughtered at a rather considerable rate and genocide is occurring and ethnic cleansing is occurring and people are being driven from their homes. on and on. what do we do now? the g.o.p. consequences. the humanitarian consequences are great." he went on to say history taught
us when you defer the tough decisions, let the butchers continue and tyrants and dictators continue, it gets worse. and it's gotten worse with milosevic. for ten years we dealt with him. four wars he started, et cetera. i agreed with his statement at the time, and i still do. and i think it applies with greater or equal force to syria today. but i'm not sure that senator hagel believes that anymore. when america was attacked on september 11, 2001, senator hagel and i urged response against the enemies who attacked us beginning in afghanistan. two years later president bush decided the united states may have to use force against saddam hussein in iraq and then senator hagel and i voted to authorize that use of force in iraq. senator hagel and i were often together in our criticism of the bush administration's conduct of the war in iraq. we both were disturbed by the apparent arrogance of
then-secretary of defense rumsfeld and his failure to respond to the fact that we were losing the war in iraq on the ground. in august 2003 i urged president bush to send more troops. the senator from south carolina and i called for the resignation of the secretary of defense, and we wanted to change our strategy and replace military and civilian leaders who were failing in their responsibilities. senator hagel, on the other hand, felt we should cut our losses and withdraw from iraq. since that time senator hagel has taken policy positions that i believe call into question the quality of his professional judgment on issues critical to national defense. i'm also concerned that senator hagel is ill-suited to lead the 2.5 million uniformed members of the armed services and ensure the sound management of an agency that has an annual budget equal to the 17th largest economy in the world. of all the responsibilities of
government, none is more fundamental in providing for the nation's defense. we must have the most qualified and able person for the position. and having carefully reviewed senator hagel's long public record, i find his nomination wanting. senator hagel's appearance before the senate armed services committee failed to allay my concerns about his nomination. during the hearing, he repeatedly refused to give an assessment of his previous statements on issues like the troop surge in iraq, the identification engagement of terrorist organizations and his past rhetoric about our allies. in response to these questions, he either assigned history the task of judging the merit of his past statements and positions or simply said -- quote -- "if i had an opportunity to edit that, like many things i've said, i would. i'd like to go back and change the words and the meaning." history isn't like throeu affirm
senator hagel tofs declaration the decision to increase forces in iraq, the decision to help prevent our losing that war when he said was the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since vietnam. it's quite obvious now that that statement was his tree i don't know nick, woe -- was histrionic, woefully uninformed and absurd. i didn't raise it at senator hagel's hearing for an i told you so moment but to determine he if senator hagel recognizes he was in error. and more importantly, if that recognition informs his judgment today. i wanted to know if he had learned from his mistakes. unfortunately, i'm not confident that he has. after two weeks of reviewing his record, my concerns about whether senator hagel is ready to serve as secretary of defense have not diminished. nothing in senator hagel's background indicates that he would effectively manage the
department of defense. in today's unprecedented environment of fiscal uncertainty, ensuring that defense investment decisions affecting an agency as massive and unwieldy as the department of defense do not adversely impact our military readiness is enormously challenging. it requires that the secretary have, as secretary gates and secretary panetta had, a proven track record of successfully managing large and complex organizations. senator hagel has no experience. there are those of us who seek to cut waste, fraud and abuse from the department of defense. senator hagel seeks something else entirely. to cut military capabilities that serve as tools to ensure our continued engagement throughout the world and support of america's interests and those of our allies. in the eyes of the president, at least, senator hagel, apparently the right man to overseeing the
continuing drawdown of the armed services. over the past tpoufr years the administration -- over the past four years the administration has pursued a program of defense reduction that exceed those expected of a normal post war drawndown, cuts that have begun to undermine u.s. military tkpwroebl power. last week -- global power. last week secretary panetta said people would stand by and deliberately hurt this country in terms of our national defense by letting sequestration take place. my doubts about senator hagel's suitability extend beyond his perspective management of defense budgetary resources. the north koreans recently tested another nuclear weapon. iraq is unraveling. the iranians rejected vice president buy did he's proposal for one on one talks concerning nuclear weapons. libya, mali, tunesia and egypt are in various states of unrest for which we have no strategy. we're in the most unsettled period since the end of the cold
war and i have serious concerns as to the quality of senator hagel's professional judgment and the acuity of his views on critical areas of national security, including security in east asia and the middle east. his record on iraq is particularly troubling. as i alluded a moment ago, in 2002 senator hagel voted to authorize the use of force against iraq. but by 2006, his support for the war had diminished. after republican losses in the 2006 midterm elections, the senator wrote an opinion piece for "the washington post" under the title "leaving iraq honorably," foreshadowing his opposition to the surge and advocated phased troop withdrawal from iraq. when president bush announced his position to surge troops in 2007, senator hagel actively campaigned against it. he voted in february 2007 in favor of a bill expressing
opposition to the surge and later in favor of measures to set a date certain withdrawal of troops from iraq and equally bad policy. senator hagel wrote in his 2008 member wore, america our next chapter: history will show that his legislative efforts to oppose the surge correctly frame the political matters at issue at the time. carl levin, on the other hand, said in 2009, in considering whether or not to surge troops in iraq, i think that history will show that president bush reached the right decision. senator hagel advocated the complete withdrawal of u.s. forces from iraq by 2007 rather than negotiating an agreement for an enduring presence of u.s. forces. the president ultimately did exactly what senator hagel recommended. reportedly against the advice of military leaders in response to written questions on this matter, senator hagel again stated that the complete withdrawal of u.s. troops from iraq was the right call and
asserted that iraq is in a better place today because of it. that is another orwellian statement. in fact, since the withdrawal of our forces in 2011, the fragile political accommodation made possible by the surge of 2007 has unraveled over the past year. al qaeda in iraq is remobilizing. iranian backed shiite militias are gaining strength. the country is on the brink of civil war as protests against the maliki government draw thousands and iranian aircraft are overflying iraq with weapons for syria. and there are many other examples. nevertheless, senator hagel is equally quick to advocate full withdrawal from afghanistan despite conditions on the ground or the advice of military commanders. senator hagel's views on iran are also profoundly troubling. consider, for instance, his recent set of incorrect and
confused responses to basic questions about president obama's iran policy during his confirmation hearing last month which one senior white house official rightfully described as -- quote -- "somewhere between baffling and incomprehensible." i am more deeply concerned by senator hagel's overall record on this issue. his 2008 -- the presiding officer: senator, your time has expired. mr. mccain: i ask for two additional minutes. mr. inhofe: reserving the right to object, let me ask how much more time is remaining on our side. the presiding officer: 19 minutes. mr. inhofe: i ask unanimous consent the last two speakers on our side, the last one be me. the next to the last one be senator graham, that we be given 12 minutes, 5 minutes for senator graham, 7 minutes for me. that's on our side. mr. levin: reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: without objection. reserving the right to object. mr. levin: how much time is allotted to each side? the presiding officer: 30 minutes for each side. mr. levin: i assume the 30
minutes the senator referred to would come out of the senator's -- the presiding officer: yes. without objection. no objection. mr. mccain: senator hagel's opposition to the use of sank suns -- sanctions and his apparent incomprehension of the threat of nuclear armed iran poses to international stability is a large -- is a large. senator hagel is an honorable man. about his character and love of country there can be no doubt or debate. however, his positions on the principal national security issues facing our country, the eye rain unanimous nuclear -- iranian nuclear program, resurgent islamic threat in the middle east and whether we should project strength in defense of our interests and allies indicate to me a disqualifying lack of professional judgment.
also senator hagel's complete lack of experience running an enterprise of such size and complexity cast further doubt. therefore, despite my esteem for senator hagel, on the basis of his record, i will not support his confirmation. i say this with regret. but he is the wrong person at the worst time for the job. this day we can and must do better. i thank my colleagues. mr. nelson: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from -- mr. levin: madam president, i yield five minutes to the senator from florida. the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. nelson: madam president, i want to speak on behalf of asking my colleagues to support senator hagel's nomination. and let me just hit a couple of highlights. he volunteered to go into the army during vietnam. he was assigned to germany. he volunteered to go to vietnam.
his brother was assigned in one part of vietnam, he in another. his brother and he -- his brother tomorrow -- asked to be in the -- his brother tho*pl, tom asked to be in the same unit. while on patrol in the jungles at night, his brother saved his life and on another patrol at night, his brother -- he saved his brother's life. he was wounded twice. he was medevacked. he asked to go back in to the fight. he has served as deputy administrator of the department of veterans affairs with a quarter of a million employees under his management. he represented the state of nebraska in the senate for 12
years. he coauthored the post-9/11 g.i. bill with senator webb. out of uniform and away from capitol hill, he has led the u.s.o. now, this is an exceptionally capable man who is a patriot, who has given extensive testimony to the senate armed services committee. he has cleared up the issues that have been asked over and over and over, including one that was raised about his role in authoring the global zero report, first the report didn't propose anything, it was, in the words specifically used in the front end of the report, it was illustrative, proposing
nothing but laying out different scenarios and possibilities. there was nothing that was proposed in a recommendation that we unilaterally disarm, reduce the arsenal or aeliminated the triad and that would especially be so since another one of the coauthors was general cartwright, the former commander of u.s. strategic command and the eighth vice chairman of the joint chiefs. so this is a critical time for national defense, it's a critical time for our country. we need to get on and approve the nomination so he can get on with his duties as secretary of defense. thank you, madam president. the presiding officer: thank you. mr. graham: madam president?
the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. graham: i have five minutes. could you let me know when four have passed. i ask unanimous consent to introduce into the record an opinion piece by the editorial board of "the washington post," december 189, 2012. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. graham: this is an editorial about the nomination of senator hagel to be secretary of defense. "the washington post" said mr. hagel's stated positions on critical issues ranging from defense spending to iran fall well to the left of those proposed by mr. obama during his first term and place him near the fringe of the senate that would be asked to confirm him. the last line is mr. hagel is an honorable man who served the country with distinction as a soldier in vietnam and who was respected by his fellow senators. but mr. obama can make a better choice for defense secretary. that sort of sums up where i'm at at. a fine man, if it's about friendship wouldn't be a problem. this is about the times in which we live.
and i would like to echo the statement about "the washington post" about being out of the mainstream. we had two hearings here and we'll have a couple of votes it looks like this the next week so. to my colleagues about the cloture vote today, you have every right to say now is not the time to end debate on ?airl. he was -- senator hagel. there are some legitimate questions, information we haven't gathered we should have an opportunity to look at and people not only-on the committee should have a chance to review this nomination so the idea of waiting till after the break makes imminent sense and i think we'll have a better informed decision and debate should continue at least for that period of time. now, senator kerry was able to get out of committee and voted on the same day because all of us felt comfortable with john kerry even though we disagreed with his politics. i believe that john kerry is a good man. we on the opposite issues sometimes when it comes to iraq and initially syria, but i
always thought he was in the mainstream of the debate. so he got 97 votes because we felt comfortable. you can tell that people on our side and some others quite frankly on if democratic party have expressed some discomfort. i would argue after the hearing there is more discomfort than there was before the hearing, that senator inhofe and senator levin, we had a very good hearing, but to me, it was unnerving some of the things that came out of the hearing. the performance was as -- created more questions and doubts than it created confidence. and that is the question. "the washington post" posed. is senator hagel, it's one thing book to be in the left lane, the right lane or the center lane. by say senator hagel's statements and votes put him in a ligue of his -- league of his own and that is why i will vote no. when it comes to israel, this statement, the jewish lobby intim dates a lot of people up here, i'm not an israeli
senator, i'm a united states senator, senator hagel to his credit said that was inappropriate and apologized but think for a minute how many of you would say that. and when i asked him name one senator who is intimidated he couldn't name one senator. i said name one policy we've enacted because of the jewish israeli diseal policy, he couldn't name a policy. now we found out today and i don't know if it's verified yet but it's posted an aide of his reported during a speech senator hagel gave several years ago, he said the united states department of state was an extension of the israeli government. now, this is showing a chip on one shoulder about israel. an unhealthy statement to say the least. and i think patently false but unnerving to a guy like me and i can only imagine what kind of signal statements like that send in these dangerous times. on iran he was one of two senators to vote against renewing unilateral u.s.
sanctions against iran and libya in 2001. one of 12 senators who did not sign a letter asking the european union to claire hezbollah a -- to declare hezbollah a terrorist organization. he refused to designate --. the presiding officer: the senator has one minute remaining. mr. graham: as a terrorist organization in 2007 while they were killing our soldiers in iraq. he refused to sign a letter to president george w. bush talking -- he said to engage direct, unconditional talks with the government of i. he was for that, telling bush to do it uncondition conditionally. he voted against iranian sangsz sanctions, one of two senators who failed to sign a letter to president clinton showing unconditional support for the to have israel. i would argue this man's record when it comes to iran and israel and statements he's made put him well out of the mainstream and "the washington post" was right on the fringe. and it now is not the time to
have somebody on the fringe of iran and israel serving as secretary of defense. for that reason i will vote no, i will oppose cloture because debate should continue and when we get back unless there is a bombshell i'll vote for cloture and move on to his nomination. thank you. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: i yield five minutes to the senator from west virginia. the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. manchin: madam president. i'm proud to support chuck hagel for secretary of defense. if chuck can make it through the jungles of vietnam, he can schumer make it through the bureaucracies of the pentagon. america needs chuck as our secretary of defense to bring our troops home and keep our military the strongest in the world. sergeant hagel was an american hero. when so many americans were dodging the draft he volunteered to serve in vietnam.
the draft board gave him the option to return to college but chuck refused. he said i think the best thing for me is to go in the army. it may not be the best thing for the army but i think that's the way to get all this straightened out. yfsz the oldest of four boys, he said, my sphawr passed away and i just was not coming together the way i should. there was a war going on in vietnam, i felt a sense of some responsibility so i said no, i think it's time to go. and so i volunteered for the draft. went in the army and celebrated my 21st birthday in white sands missile range. and chuck didn't serve in a safe bullet. when assigned to germany he volunteered for vietnam and saw the horrors of war as an infrant fantdry sergeant. he hand his brother tom are the only known american brothers to serve side by side in vietnam. at different times they risked their lives to save each other. hoping, praying that his older
brother would make it out of vietnam alive. and chuck eventually returned the favor by dragging tom out of a burning vehicle just before it exploded saving his brother's life. you talk about brothers in arms, these were real brothers in arms. these experiences made chuck who he is. and they helped you and me understand why he is the right man to run the pentagon and put in charge of defending america. just listen to how chuck describes what it was like to serve in vietnam. he says -- and i quote -- "i walked a lot of point. my brother tom and i together walked a lot of point. which was all right. you know what happens to a lot of point men, but i always felt a little better if i was up front than somebody else. check chuk is willing to walk point for america now. he has been walking point most of his life. as chuck describes a point man, a point man as i think most people know is the individual who was out front. and these are usually squad sized trolts, stills a company sized patrol depending on the
mission and you have the front, physically the front position but also the responsibility of essentially not walking your squad or your company into an ambush or a trap. so you had to be very, very focused, on the peripheral vision and the antenna and just the sense and the instincts that something doesn't look right or grenades hanging in trees which booby traps were the way of life. your dealt with that all the time and there were a lot of guys who just didn't pay attention to it. that's just the way they were and i again always felt better if i was up front than maybe some others. let me repeat that. chuck hagel always felt better if he was up front where it was most dangerous. we live in dangerous times today. we need a man like chuck hagel right now who has seen the horrors of war and will do all that he can to prevent another generation from seeing them. in my interactions with chuck, i have been struck by his honesty, his sincerity and commonsense approach. i know that if he were still a u.s. senator, we would probably
be great friends. that's because we come from similar backs grounds and the same generation. he's like many americans. he grew up in a working class, salt of the earth family, in chuck's words he was raised in a little town in nebraska with a local legion club and v.f.w. hall were the centers of the universe. i can go on and on about chuck hagel but let me say this in closing -- when i think about people and i go to my little town and my community where i grew up in farmington, west virginia and i know chuck grew up in small towns in nebraska. they know if i'm telling the truth or if i'm for real or sincere. i want to say to all of you have chuck shook chuck hagel's hands, looked in his eyes and i saw the soul of a good man, a man i want leading this country, taking care of our youth, our infantry, our men and women in uniform.
the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: could i make a parliamentary inquiry. how much time does each side have? the presiding officer: the democrats have 22 minutes. and the republicans have 12 minutes. mr. reed: thank you, madam president. i would yield myself five minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. reed: madam president, so many of my colleagues have described, chuck hagel is a soldier, statesman, a businessman, a patriot. as my colleague from wishing west virginia pointed out he could have chosen a much easier path in the 1960's, a path many trod. but he chose the most difficult, not only to join the army but to volunteer for vietnam when he had the opportunity to serve honorably and well in europe. he joined his brother. he fought in combat. he knows the pressures that our
men and women in uniform face and he knows the decisions made in the pentagon ultimately are cards out by those young men and women in uniform. in fact, i can't think of anyone over the last several decades who has learned that lesson so well. the other thing that's so impressive is that it's not just a one-dimensional resume. he was a businessman. very successful. founded his own company. created jobs. created opportunities. was the deputy administrator of the veterans' affairs. he's run a large federal agency. very seldom do people come 0 into these positions having run a federal agency or at least the seconds in the command. he's been a united states senator so he knows very well the procedures and the personalities that are here in the united states congress. but to me one of the most compelling endorsements comes from those who have actually done the job before him. when bob gates and bill cohen
and bill perry stand up and say this is the person for the job, you've got to believe that. these gentlemen have done the job. for republican presidents and democratic presidents. and they've done it with great distinction. and then when you get someone like brent scowcroft who in my view one of the most knowledgeable and authoritative voices on national security, was the national security advisor for president george herbert walker bush who weighs in along with madeleine albright, you have i think the compelling, irrefutable evidence and testimony of those who have done the job that chuck hagel can do the job. and then there's been a lot said and discussed about does he truly appreciate the relationship between the united states and some of our closest allies, particularly israel. and here you have the current deputy form minister of israel who also served as our
ambassador from israel to the united states saying he's met him, he feels in his view, i'll paraphrase, he has a true understanding of the natural partnership between the united states and israel. again, compelling evidence. add to that, the unconditional endorsement of several former united states ambassadors to israel, american patriots who have dedicated themselves to maintaining that relationship, strong, vital, vibrant, crucial to both the state of israel and the united states. the evidence accumulates more and more that the president has chosen well and wisely. this is a critical time. we're looking at conflict in afghanistan. we're looking at a nuclear detonation on the korean peninsula. we're looking at budget problems that have never faced any previous secretary of defense that have to be addressed within weeks and days.
there is a ministerial meeting next week in brussels for our defense ministers. we have to maintain our alliances. all these forces come together. and so i think the evidence is overwhelming. the president has chosen well and wisely, but let me make one final point. this is an historic vote. by my recollection, no candidate for secretary of defense, no nominee has been defeated, delayed or dismissed on a procedural vote. that our history suggests because of this office, because it is one so closely associated with the president making life-or-death decisions that deference is given to that choice, at least that it's not caught up in a procedural battle, that there is an up-or-down vote. my colleagues in good faith
after study can vote aye or nay, but to defeat somebody on a procedural vote would be unprecedented and unwarranted. and as a result, madam president, i would urge that this motion be forced, this procedural motion be carried, cloture be dispensed with, and we can get on to express our true feelings based on the evidence and based on our best judgment of whether or not senator hagel should serve as secretary of defense. with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: thank you, madam president. i think we will probably have some more coming down wanting to have time a little later on, so i may stay with the amount of time -- i guess i won't if i can't make that work. there we go. let me, first of all, start off by saying i agree with almost everything that they have said on both sides about chuck hagel.
i agree that he was a hero. i know he was -- i think of my own army career, i think of his and how much greater his was. that isn't the issue here. i think both senator graham and senator mccain said it very well. yes, his character is wonderful, we love the guy. he served his country. all of those things are true. the problem is the -- the stances that he has taken primarily and most of what they said had to do with israel and countries like iran. these are countries that israel has historically been a very, very close ally of ours, and i have often said our only true ally in the middle east that you can always count on, but i think that we need to look at this as the individual and how he would act judging from his past performance as the secretary of defense. now, let me say this -- the vote that's coming up at 4:15, this is the vote for or against
hagel. this has -- all this talk about a procedure vote, about filibustering and all of that, no, this is the vote that takes place in terms of whether or not chuck hagel should be the next secretary of defense. now, this statement that's been made over and over and over again that, well, this is the first time this has ever happened, look, we have people all the time in cabinet positions who are subjected to a 60-vote threshold. this happens all the time. i -- you know, i look at just some i have right here starting on the republican side, i can remember when kathleen sebelius, who is now the secretary of health and human services in 2009, there are a lot of people who didn't think she would be good, so they objected to this so it would be forced into a 60-vote threshold. that's -- that's what happened.
john bryson, he was up for secretary of commerce. you know, i didn't think he would make a very good secretary of commerce. i opposed him and he was subjected to the -- to the 60-vote margin. here's the interesting thing. if you look -- i mean, today we have barack obama who is a democrat, president of the united states. then we have harry reid who is the majority leader. so the democrats are in control of both. now, if you think back at what happened back in -- during the last bush administration, we had exactly the reverse. george bush was president of the united states and the democrats were a minority. same situation. so what happened? first of all, we had bolton come up, john bolton. same thing, subjected to a 60-vote margin. we had steve -- dirk kempthorne. all remember dirk kempthorne. there are a lot of people who did not approve of him. he was appointed by bush, a republican, and then when he
came over here, the democrats didn't like him, they subjected him to a 60-vote margin. that wasn't a filibuster. this isn't a filibuster today. people are trying to say that and blame me as being the bad guy that's causing a filibuster. it's not the case at all. any more than it was the case back in the 2005-2006 and other times when we had a nominee that was put forth by president bush. it was objected to by the democrats. now, dirk kempthorne, when he was nominated to be the secretary of interior, there was a lot of opposition to him on the other side. of course they said we have got to subject him to a 60-vote threshold. well, that was a cabinet position that seemed to be drawing a distinction for some reason between the secretary of defense and any other cabinet positions. on a level, they're the same, and this happens over and over
again. i will tell you one thing, rob portman, senator portman, same thing happened to him when he was appointed by bush to be u.s. trade representative. it was vitiated later on but it was objected to first so that he would have been vubted to a 60-vote threshold. now, one thing that's kind of interesting is steven johnson, bush appointed him to be the e.p.a. administrator. actually, he was a guy that i thought a lot of. he was a democrat, so we have here bush, a republican, appointing a democrat that was objected to by the democrats. now we have obama -- a democrat nominating a republican and objected to by the republicans. exactly the reverse, exactly. there is no difference at all. and so i think that it should be abundantly clear to everyone that members of the committee -- now, i'm the ranking member of the armed services committee. every member of the committee, i will stand up, i will walk through fire to make sure that
they have all their questions answered. that's what advice and contessa is all about. we want to -- advice and consent is all about. we want to look at it, in the case of our committee, we want to make sure everyone has a chance to fully look at the process and make sure that everything is out there. i see -- this is kind of a funny thing, madam president, this distinguished man over here, the junior senator from texas, senator cruz, lost his voice. you know, for a senator to lose his voice, that's -- what worse can happen than that? so he's not able to speak, but if he could, i would say that he would say it's not so much my concern, which is all the issues that had been articulated by senator mccain and by senator graham, it would be the process, the fact that here's a guy who didn't want to -- who is a new member of the committee, a new member of the senate came in and he knew that he was entitled to -- i give myself three additional minutes -- he was entitled to have all of his
questions answered. he's tried now, for weeks he's tried. he has stonewalled, he can't get them. so it's the process. he is not making any accusations. he says i just want to have what i have asked for. and let me tell you, i have the utmost respect for carl levin. he and i in spite of what the media wishes, we get along great, i love the guy. we disagree now and then on policy, but i really like him. the other day he said -- now, listen to this, madam president. he said -- this is carl levin -- -- quote -- "every member, repeat it, every member, that includes texas, every member should add his or her voice to the demand for a -- the production of relevant documents which senators need to decide on confirmation or for any other legitimate reason." i agree, i agree wholeheartedly with it, and that's exactly what these individuals are asking for. they're asking for that -- that
information. now, i regret -- he's very articulate, i regret that he lost his voice today, but it is kind of funny. anyway, this is a -- what has happened in the past, every time the opposition, the minority has objected and has wanted to -- to procedurally have a 60-vote margin, that's happened. it's happened with a consent agreement. i asked for that and i think that we have that now but we had to force it. i understand that. this is not a filibuster. it's the same thing that was required and requested back by harry reid when he was the minority leader, against john bolton, against steven johnson, against robert portman, against dirk kempthorne. this is a normal way of operating. so a lot of us still don't have the information that we want, but i would say this -- i am willing and they are willing -- i have checked with the people who have not gotten all the information they want. they said let's go ahead and have the vote. so in a way are they caving in? they are doing all they can to
be conciliatory. i just think we're doing everything we can. we're not filibustering, and we -- we don't want to string this thing out. but i want to repeat one last time -- this vote is the vote on chuck hagel. it's not on procedure or anything else. it's a vote on chuck hagel. with that, i retain the balance of my time. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: how much time does the majority have? the presiding officer: 17 minutes remain for the majority, and three minutes for the minority. mr. levin: five minutes to the senator from illinois. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: madam president, this is rare. twice in the history of the senate have we had a filibuster involving a nominee for a cabinet position, twice. what's especially disappointing about this is it was just a few weeks ago we came together on a bipartisan basis and we said we're not going to do this
anymore. we're going to try to work together. we're going to try to avoid these filibusters. and here we have, sadly, an historic filibuster over an appointment of a former united states senator, chuck hagel, republican of nebraska, as secretary of defense. now, i know there is controversy associated with his nomination, but i also know chuck hagel. i served on the senate intelligence committee with him. we served together in the united states senate. no question in my mind the president made a good choice. i'll also tell you that you need to know a little bit about the man to understand why it's an historic choice. chuck hagel volunteered and enlisted in the united states army during the vietnam era. that was not a casual decision. that was a time when enlisting in the army meant you might risk your life. well, he lucked out. he got stationed in a theater that wasn't at war. but what did he do next? he volunteered to go to vietnam, volunteered as an enlisted man to go to vietnam.
and he went there, with his brother, incidentally, the two of them, to serve in the united states army. he was involved directly in combat. he was given the purple heart for his service and told me personally about days that he will never forget as long as he lives. so does chuck hagel know what it takes to be a soldier? does he know what it takes to lead the department of defense? he certainly does. i served on the senate intelligence committee with him. i know his feelings on the issues. and when i listened to how some of his positions have been distorted, i find it hard to believe. chuck hagel was a conservative republican senator and an honest man of integrity, and some of the things that have been said about him, some of the charges that have been made in the course of the armed services committee were just embarrassing, mr. chairman. they were embarrassing. to think that colleagues in the united states senate would say that about a man they knew and served with personally or they
should have known better than to say. and that's why we're here today. the sad reality is i have listened to many republican senators who are not going to vote for chuck hagel come up here and talk about how important it is to fill this position. the north koreans detonate nuclear devices this week and raise concerns all over that part of the world and beyond. we know what's going on in the middle east, in syria and other places. we still have 68,000-plus american soldiers who are literally risking their lives while we meet in the comfort and security of the senate chamber. in afghanistan, they are risking their lives and we are saying well, we'd sure like to appoint a secretary of defense, but we've got to make a political point here today. we've got to vote against him today and put it off for ten days. then we may reconsider it again. god forbid something awful occurs in the next ten days. i hope it doesn't. there are still good people at the pentagon and i'm sure they
will do a good job, but we should have that secretary of defense, one of the most critical appointments in the president's cabinet filled. this notion that we have to make a political stand here and stop chuck hagel today to make some political point really troubles me. some of the requests for information about chuck hagel go beyond any of the standards of disclosure we have ever seen before. this isn't fair. it isn't fair to chuck hagel, it isn't fair to the president, it certainly isn't fair to the men and women in uniform all across the united states and around the world who are risking their lives for this country. those who come to the floor and say in ten days, he'll be fine. for goodness sakes, let' swallow your pride. let's fill phil this spot. let's not have this sad, historic filibuster on this appointment to the president's cabinet. i really hope my colleagues will reflect on what chuck hagel has meant in his live, his service to the country, his service to
the state of nebraska and his service to this nation as a united states senator. he is a good man. he'll do a good job in the department of defense. i trust the president's judgment. and for anyone who thinks they're making a political point in order to kind of show the president that we can still filibuster, i remind them it was just a few weeks ago we strood on the floor and said -- stood on the floor and said we're going to be more thoughtful about the use of the filibuster in the future, we're going to be more careful that we don't politicize it. today, unfortunately what's happening is a serious disappointment. i yield the floor. mrs. boxer: mr. president, may i ask senator levin, through the chair, a question 1234 mr. levin: i would be happy to yield some time to the senator from california, how many minutes? mrs. boxer: whatever you wish. mr. levin levin: how many minuts the majority have left? mr. levin: i yield two minutes to the senator. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: thank you. thank you very much, mr. president. i'm glad we're voting today on the president's choice for
secretary of defense, chuck hagel, our former colleague. and i stand here as a senator who had a number of questions about some of the things he said in the past and some of the votes that he cast and some of his philosophy. and what i did as soon as i learned that he was the president's pick -- remember, the president's the commander in chief. this is a critical appointment. it's got to be someone he has his faith in, he puts his trust in. and he picked someone, a brave hero who served in vietnam. so i wrote all my questions down and, believe me, they covered some tough ground -- tough ground -- on women's rights, on gay rights, on iran, on israel, a number of questions, and i asked if it would be all right if when the answers came, we could put it on-line and people
could see the answers. and absolutely the answer came back, "yes." and the answers to my questions were very clear and very strong. senator hagel has evolved on certain issues. he admitted a mistake auto a ona couple. now, that is the hardest thing for any politician to admit, four words that we hate to say -- i made a mistake. and he admitted it on a couple of issues. and i just think the way he's being treated here is so sad. it's so sad. and when i watched some of the questioning from my colleagues -- not all of them, a couple of them -- and i'm not referring to my -- my dear, dear, dear friend, senator inhofe -- it was really reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, "i have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a
date," and of course nothing was in the pocket. it was reminiscent of some bad times. so i'm so glad we're voting here today. and i know it's going to be a close vote. i don't know what the outcome is. i do believe eventually this -- this good man will be -- will be the secretary of defense. i believe that in my heart. but if anyone is still undecided on this vote, let's understand that never in history have we had a 60-vote requirement, to my knowledge, for a nominee for secretary of defense. now, if i'm wrong, i hope to be corrected. and there's a reason for it. lord knows, i was one of the key voices of dissent on the iraq war and i wasn't happy about a lot of the people that were put into place by george w. bush. believe me, i -- i didn't want to see them continue in those positions. i think that they led us astray in iraq and it led to so many
thousands of deaths. but i never dreamed of requiring a 60-vote majority. this is not a good day for the senate, in my view. and i know my friend, senator inhofe, is very sincere, but i have to say, i'm on the foreign relations committee. i'm a senior member of that committee. we have listened to the state department on benghazi. we had briefings and hearings and answers came, and we had secret briefings that are highly classified. we had open hearings. i would ask for 30 seconds. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: and i've got to say, what more are you trying to get out of this? benghazi was a crisis. it was a disaster. it was terrible. there should have been more security there. but don't blame the brave
americans for it. blame the terrorists who did this. and as the facts became available, those facts came right out. but why are we trying to stop this good man because of something he had nothing to do with? so in close, i hope if you're on the fence you'll vote today for chuck hagel and a "yes" vote on cloture. mr. inhofe: parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: for a parliamentary inquiry before the clock starts here. i understand we have three minutes left on our side and how many minutes left on the majority side? the presiding officer: 7 minutes and 15 seconds on the majority
side. mr. inhofe: okay. i don't see anyone who's seeking recognition over here so i'll go ahead and take the last three minutes. well, first of all, it's very interesting, in all of the -- those on the other side who are supporting senator hagel for being the next secretary of defense, not one of them says anything at all about the issues. they all talk about the things with which we agree. he was a hero. we've said it. senator mccain said it. senator graham said it. we all agree that he was a hero in the war and he is deserving of this type of thing. what they don't talk about, why is it not one of them has mentioned that senator hagel is one of only two senators who voted against sanctions against iran? why is it they don't mention that he was one of only four -- in fact, all of them signed a letter for solidarity with israel. he was one of four senators who didn't sign that letter of solidarity for israel.
the same thing as declaring the iranian revolutionary guard a terrorist group. he was one of only four senators who did that. so i would only say, this is not a filibuster. everybody knows it's not a filibuster. it sounds good and i hope the media is listening up there. this is not a filibuster. this is the same thing that was required by the democrats in the case of john bolton, in the case of steve johnson, the case of rob portman, in the case of dirk kempthorne. it is a prerogative of the senate. it's not a filibuster. we merely want a 60-vote margin. we received it in all of those cases. and i commented earlier, that was when we had a republican in the white house and a democrat in the -- in the majority in the senate. so they made that same requirement. i was here for all four of. they i never objected to that. then, of course, you had the kathleen sebelius, who's there right now, cabinet position, the same as this, is a cabinet position. you had secretary of commerce john bryson.
i objected to him. he -- he passed the 60-vote margin. so the only issue here is the 60-vote margin and that's what we're talking about. it's not not a filibuster. and the last thing i will say is again i will read -- the last speaker is my very good friend, the chairman of the committee, when he said the other day, and i wholeheartedly agreed with him, he said -- quote -- "every member should add his or her voice to the demand for the production of relevant documents which senators need to decide on confirmation." i agree with that. and this whole thing, really, some people don't okay to some of the things he's said and done of in the past. but what we do object to is the process, that we have members who've made requests for information that were relevant to this appointment and they're unable to receive that. so it's a process and i will stand up as the minority -- ranking minority on the senate armed services committee for the rights of every single minority member of that committee, the same as senator levin, who would
stand up for the rights of every majority member of that committee in this process. and i thank the president. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, i would yield myself the balance of the time. mr. president, first of all, the questions which have been asked of us to provide materials and of the nominee have -- fall into three categories. the first questions to the white house about benghazi. those questions have been answered. request for senator hagel's speeches. those speeches have been provided. and relative to financial disclosure, additional financial disclosure, the disclosure which is required by the rules has been provided. the statement about -- that was made by one of our colleagues about corsair capital is a statement which, frankly, is out of bounds, inappropriate for anyone to be asked when he is a advisor to a perfectly legitimate fund, an equity fund, which has perfectly legitimate,
other members of the board, and there is no evidence in the person making the innuendo acknowledged it, no evidence that the funding came from saudi arabia, iran or any other inappropriate place. so much for the information that's been provided, more information probably than any nominee in recent memory, at least, has had to provide. we've done everything we possibly can to do it. now in terms of the qualifications for -- for senator hagel. this comes from former secretaries. of state, national security advisors, national secretaries of defense, secretary albright, security advisor berger, secretary of defense brown, national security advisor per zip i ask, secretary of defense cohen, secretary gates, national security advisor jones, secretary of defense layerelaird, secretary of defene perry, secretary of state powell, secretary of state schultz, national security
advisor scowcroft. this is what they say. this is the validation. "we obviously know senator hagel. we trust senator hagel. we believe in his qualifications." but these are people outside, democrats and republicans, outside of this body. and here's what they say, "from his time as deputy veterans administrator managing a quarter million employees during the reagan presidency to turning around the financially troubled world u.s.o., to sheparding the post-9/11 g.i. bill through the congress as a senator, and his service at the pentagon and as cochairman of the president's intelligence advisory board, chuck hagel is uniquely qualified to meet challenges facing the department of defense." and i've already put into the record many statements that have been written by veterans' organizations in support of senator hagel. relative to iran, this is what he says relative to eye rafnlt iran poses eye -- to iran. iran poses a significant
threat -- the presiding officer: the senate is not in order. please take your conversations outside the chamber. the senator will proceed. mr. levin: here's what he says about iran. "iran poses a significant threat to the united states, our allies and partners and the region globally. iran continues to pursue an illicit program that threatens to provoke a regional arms race." and he is fully committed to the president's goal from obtaining a nuclear weapon. all options must be on the table to achieve that goal. and relative to israel, he has said he's a strong supporter of israel. even more important, the deputy minister of defense of israel says that he is a good friend of israel and, indeed, in the words of danny aialone says that he believes -- and he's now talking about senator hagel -- "senator hagel believes in the natural partnership between israel and the united states and is proud of the volume of defense relations between israel and the united states which are so important to both countries."
now the only question remains is to what we're voting on. what we're voting on here is to end a filibuster. now, my good friend from oklahoma says it's not a filibuster. but the definition of a filibuster under our rules is when you say that you're going to continue to talk unless there's 60 votes to end debate. that's what we're voting o. it'. it's called cloture. and if we get cloture today, then there will be another vote on the nomination of senator hagel. and the proof of that is that we had three republican senators stand up here today who say that while they're going to vote against cloture today, that they are going to vote for cloture a week from this tuesday. that is a procedural vote if i ever heard it. they're still going to vote against his nomination but they have decided that they will vote for cloture a week from tuesday. that's the difference between the process process to end debate and the vote on the
nomination itself. so let no one kid each other. what we're deciding here today is whether a filibuster will continue. that's not just me talking. that's the rules speaking. that's what the rules provide for, that you need 60 votes to end debate. has there ever been a requirement before by opponents of the nominee that there be 60 votes to end debate? has any other -- has this ever happened in history? not to a nominee for the defense department, no. secretary of defense, no. or other cabinet officers there have been in the past requirements set by opponents that to stop talking, you're going to have to get 60 votes. but that only means what the rules say it means; that under the rules of this body, that conversation, debate does not end if the opponents insist on it until there be 60 votes. that is the definition of a filibuster, a and that's wha ani hope we can tbroi an end today.
if we can't bring it to an understand today, then there will be another vote a week from tuesday. the dangers in this world are too severe to leave this position in this ambiguous state between niewngdz a week from tuesday and whenever the final vote or passage on this nomination is. the world is tooous to have this -- the world is too dangerous to have this period of uncertainty. we have provided the documents which have been required, the information relative to the financial situation of senator hagel has been provided. it is time for us now to bring the debate to an end. it would require 60 votes. and then hopefully if we can get 60 votes today, then vote on the final approval of this nominee. but again if 60 votes aren't there today, the majority leader has made it clear that he would then, of course, reconsider the cloture pee tilings for a week from tuesday -- petition for a
week from tuesday. either way it is critically important that senator hagel's confirmation take place and that we fill this position as secretary of defense. mr. president, i don't know if there is any time left, but if there is, i yield the time back. the presiding officer: all time is expired. the clerk will report to invoke cloture. the clerk: we theunder signed senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22, of the standing rulings of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the nomination of chart timothy hagel of nebraska to be secretary of defense signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the manned my quorum call has been waived. is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of charles timothy hagel of nebraska to be secretary of defense shall be brought it a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn -- the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 58, the nays are 40. one senator announced present. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. mr. reid: i enter a motion to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked. the presiding officer: the motion is entered. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: this will be the last vote today. we'll have a vote monday night and we'll vote again on this matter tuesday morning.
mr. president, i regret the republican senators -- tuesday, a week from tuesday. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. please take your conversations out of the chamber. the senate will be in order. mr. reid: mr. president, i regret that republican senators, except for the val yantd four, chose to filibuster the nomination of president obama's nominee to be secretary of defense. the republicans have made an fortunate choice to ratchet up the level of obstruction here in washington. just when you thought things couldn't get worse, it gets worse. we need to have this vote today. why? times like this, it's nice to have a secretary of defense. not a lame duck. mr. president, we have a war going on in afghanistan.
the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the majority leader. mr. reid: a war has been going on for ten years. the president announced on tuesday that half the troops are going to be coming home. north korea earlier this week tested a nuclear weapon. just a couple months ago, they tested a missile to deliver a warhead. and they've said publicly and very openly that they want to make sure they can reach the united states. we have a conflict going on in syria. it's a serious conflict. the middle east is still in turmoil. iran is threatening everyone, including us. and we have a few things going on. there's a nato defense